Brazil's Congress postponed
a key World Cup bill again on Wednesday, a move that is likely
to frustrate officials of football's governing body who say its
passage is crucial to preparations for the 2014 World Cup.
The bill, which has been years in the making, provides a
legislative framework for the organisation of the FIFA World Cup
and its curtain raiser, the 2013 Confederations.
It was to have gone before Congress on Wednesday but the
ruling party coalition delayed the debate, saying a postponement
was preferable to a defeat.
"I don't want to run the risk of the opposition defeating [us]," said Deputy Henrique Eduardo Alves, one of the
coalition's leaders in the lower house.
The passage of the so-called 2014 Bill has been hugely
controversial and much delayed. The main bone of contention
surrounds the sale of alcohol inside the 12 stadiums where games
will be played.
When it was chosen to host the World Cup in October 2007,
Brazil agreed to allow alcohol to be sold in stadiums, even
though it banned the sale of booze inside grounds in 2003 in an
attempt to stop hooliganism.
One of FIFA's biggest sponsors is beer maker Budweiser and
FIFA demands the host nation allow alcohol to be sold at games.
Another controversial aspect of the bill surrounds cut price
Brazilian law allows half-price entry into sports, concerts
and other events to students and pensioners. FIFA says extending
that law to the World Cup would hit its coffers hard and instead
vowed to set aside 300,000 tickets for students, pensioners, and
minority groups that include indigenous people and the disabled.
FIFA estimates that 3.3 million tickets will be available
for the 64 matches.
Brazil's slow pace in preparing for the World Cup has
irritated FIFA officials and was at the center of executive
secretary Jerome Valcke's falling out with the Brazilian
government after he said they needed "a kick up the backside."
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