BRASILIA: At last Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has signed into law the contentious and long-delayed 2014 World Cup enabling legislation. But that will raise only two cheers at FIFA headquarters back in Zurich.
Omitted from the text is any reference to a permission for the sale and consumption of alcohol within the precincts of stadia chosen to host matches at the Confederations Cup next year and then again at the finals in 2014.
This was one of the original guarantees to which FIFA believed Rousseff’s predecessor, then-President Lula, had signed up after Brazil was confirmed as host nation a full five years ago.
The significance is that Budweiser is one of the the world federation’s major World Cup sponsors – financiers, in effect – and any failure on FIFA’s behalf to fulfil the terms of the contract could leave it open to multi-million lawsuit and hand it a significant black mark in the sponsorship market.
Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo has sought to calm FIFA fears by suggesting that the federal government will undertake individual negotiations with the various host cities.
The text of the legislation has been approved in both the two houses of parliament, Congress and then Senate before coming before Rousseff for her final consideration.
She has used her presidential prerogative to strike out six clauses but to maintain two contentious ones including the halr-price sale of 50,000 tickets to students, pensioners, the disabled and those on social security. Each ticket will be issued with identification marks.*
Other clauses in the approved text include adjusting school holidays (to ease transport concerns) and the award of ‘pensions of thanks’ to the players (or their heirs) who won the World Cup for Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
The whole process may not yet be at an end.
Jose Sarney, the parliamentary president, has 72 hours to decide whether to submit Rousseff’s amendments to a joint panel of the Congress and the Senate. That panel can decide to put the amendments to a vote within 30 days.
* An English-text reference to the tickets issue issued by the Secretariat of Social Communication that “10 percent of the total tickets for each Brazil match would be reserved for Category 4, the most affordably priced category of tickets” made no apparent sense.
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