Beer deal chokes football fans

Bavarians want more than American Bud served at 2006 World Cup

Apr 21, 2004 - German politicians, sports fans and beer drinkers are fuming after learning that the International Football Federation has made a deal with Anheuser-Busch and McDonald's for beer and food sales during the 2006 World Cup (soccer) tournament.


The deals mean that local German breweries and sausage makers could not sell their products in and around the football stadiums. The Bavarian Culture Ministry says it is hoping to work out a compromise with FIFA to allow German products to be sold at games.

Both Munich and Nuremberg plan to set up special "fan villages" outside the restricted areas so fans can enjoy German-made products while going to the games.

Local leaders are urging Bavarian governor Edmund Stoiber to take up the issue. "When the world comes to Bavaria in 2006, our guests should be able to rely on learning about our unique cultural goods," local Greens Party leader Sepp Duerr said. "We are asking the state government to explain how they intend to safeguard that," Duerr said.

Gerhard Ohneis, chief of the Augustiner brewery, said the FIFA sponsoring contract would "destroy old traditions."

A spokesman for FIFA's World Cup organizing committee said a sponsorship deal with local brewers would have been problematic because of the huge number of beers available in Germany. "There is a special beer in each city, but we have a tournament which is held all over Germany," he told the BBC's World Business Report.

Anheuser-Busch, the world's biggest brewer and the maker of Budweiser beer, has carried out sponsorship or marketing activities at every World Cup since 1986. The latest exclusive sponsorship contract is reportedly worth $47 million.

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