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Alcohol Sales Sought During 2018 World Cup

The Sports Ministry has drafted legislation that would give the FIFA exclusive rights to advertise and sell alcoholic beverages in and near stadiums during the 2018 football World Cup.

The ministry hopes to include the amendment to a bill on the 2018 World Cup, which is awaiting a second of three readings in the State Duma, Izvestia reported Monday.

Under the amendment, official FIFA sponsors would be able to sell and advertise alcohol during the competition and during toss-ups. Also, alcohol sales would be permitted in stadiums, within a 2 kilometer radius of stadiums and and at other official venues with the approval of FIFA or their partners, says the document.

Existing Russian law bans alcohol advertising and sales in stadiums.

But Duma officials doubt that the amendment will be adopted.

"There would be a lot of problems from alcohol producers that are not FIFA partners," said Viktor Zvagelsky, deputy head of the Duma's Economic Policy Committee, Izvestia reported. "If you make exceptions for those who cooperate with the organizers of the World Cup, then you have unfair competition."

So far, only one alcohol producer has signed up as a sponsor of the 2018 World Cup — Busch InBev, the maker of beers such as Budweiser.

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