Bavaria Hopping Mad Over World Cup Ban

The 2006 World Cup will be held in Germany, but thanks to FIFA sponsoring contracts, visitors should not expect German food or drink at stadiums. Officials in Bavaria are especially angry that German beer will not be allowed – one government official said that guests of the World Cup must be presented with "distinctively Bavarian cultural assets", and another went even further, cautioning that officials had "a certain duty toward the people and cannot allow World Cup visitors to be poisoned." To make matters worse, German sausage will not be served either due to contracts with McDonalds. But as one World Cup official pointed out, the World Cub "is a global event" and must serve global brands. That is why visiting soccer players will not be driven around in German BMWs, Audis, or Mercedes, but in Korean Hyundais. – YaleGlobal

Bavaria Hopping Mad Over World Cup Ban

FIFA keeps German beer out of stadiums
Elizabeth Goetze
Friday, April 30, 2004

Hot dogs and an ice-cold light beer might be considered the perfect accompaniment at a sporting event for the average U.S. sports spectator. But deep in Bavaria, home of the beer purity law from 1516, the thought of having to consume a non-Bavarian brew at one of the world's largest sporting events, the soccer World Cup in 2006, has sent serious shudders right down the spine of Bavarian traditionalists.

Two weeks ago, the newsmagazine Der Spiegel broke the news that there would not be any German beer served in the stadiums and the immediate surrounding area because of sponsoring contracts with the World Cup organizational committee FIFA. As a result, the U.S. brewery Anheuser- Busch, brewer of Budweiser beer and originally founded as the "Bavarian Brewery" by German immigrants in the 19th century, has the right to be the sole distributor of beer at the World Cup events - including the 12 stadiums.

The public repercussions from that piece of information were particularly strong in the Munich area, where the first game of the World Cup will be played on June 9, 2006, at the Allianz Arena, which is currently under construction. Sepp Dürr, head of the Greens' group in the Bavarian parliament, called upon Bavarian Premier Edmund Stoiber of the Christian Social Union to give the issue "top priority," saying it was important that the guests of the World Cup be presented with "distinctively Bavarian cultural assets."

Franz Maget, the head of the Social Democrats group in the Bavarian parliament, went even further, saying the politicians had "a certain duty toward the people and cannot allow World Cup visitors to be poisoned." To add insult to injury, contracts with McDonald's, another Fifa sponsor, will prevent traditional German sausages from being served at the stadiums.

In the wake of the dispute, the Bavarian government has formed a special World Cup task force, headed by Monika Hohlmeier, the Bavarian minister of cultural affairs, and Otto Wiesheu, the Bavarian minister of economics.

Munich brewers have reacted unfavorably to this missed source of revenue. "It is very annoying that there won't be any Munich beer in the Munich stadium," the head of the Augustiner brewery, Gerhard Ohneis, told the Münchner Merkur newspaper. The state-owned Hofbräuhaus also lamented, the paper said. And a spokesman for Paulaner brewery told the newspaper that his company would try to find a way to serve its beer at the stadium, "in neutral cups" if need be.

But it seems unlikely the ruling will be changed. An organizational official of the World Cup 2006, Wolfgang Niersbach, pointed out that the World Cup "is a global event" and therefore can serve global brands. "We have a partner here to whom FIFA guaranteed product exclusivity," Niersbach told the sports news agency sid.

Niersbach said he was surprised by all the commotion. "We can't understand the excitement. The contracts were signed even before it was clear that Germany would be the host country of the World Cup," he said.

Meanwhile, few complaints have been made about another non-German World Cup sponsor. Officials, guests of honor and the soccer players themselves will not be chauffeured in German-built BMWs, Audis or Mercedes. The Korean car manufacturer Hyundai, another FIFA sponsor, will exclusively provide cars for the World Cup.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 2000. GmbH Publishing Group, Germany. All rights reserved.