Brazil’s World Cup Law Guarantees Plenty of Booze and Holidays

Getting a beer Brazil’s 2014 World Soccer Cup law approved yesterday, March 28, by the Brazilian House of Representatives, liberates the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages during soccer games by not prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Specifically, the bill suspends Article 13 of the Soccer Fan Statute  that prohibits alcoholic beverages at Brazilian soccer games. The statute is a federal law from 2003.

The anti-drinking provisions date from 2010 but never really went into effect because they lacked appropriate legislation. Even so, some five states do have state laws prohibiting alcoholic beverages at soccer games.

Therefore, the bill allows FIFA to negotiate with those states and any other states with informal prohibitions. FIFA did not include such negotiations in its executive power-plan for managing the 2014 World Cup.

The bill that will become law and govern the country for a couple of weeks in the middle of the year 2014 will also permit state governors to decree holidays on days when World Cup games take place in their states.

And, last but not least, the federal government will decree national holidays on the days that Brazil’s national soccer team plays.

According to the president of the lower House, Marco Maia (PT-Rio Grande do Sul state), the Lei Geral da Copa was finally approved because of three forces that came together in cooperation and a united effort: the opposition, the allied base and the government.

As for what has become the most controversial part of the law, Maia explained that as approved the bill “does not liberate or prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages in stadiums during the games.

The issue will be decided by the states. What we approved gives states the right to liberate drinking in stadiums,” was the way Maia described the result.

Vicente Cândida (PT-São Paulo), who wrote the text of the bill, put it this way: approval of the bill suspends provisions in the Soccer Fan Statute that prohibit alcoholic beverages in stadiums (Article 13), while liberating the sale of alcoholic beverages in stadiums in states where there is no law prohibiting it, as well as in states where there are no formal agreements with legal authorities prohibiting it.

“Where there is no prohibition, alcoholic beverages are liberated. Where the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in soccer stadiums, the International Soccer Association (FIFA) is authorized to negotiate. There are five states where alcoholic beverages are prohibited in soccer stadiums and a couple of other states where there are informal understandings with legal authorities prohibiting the sale during games. All this is subject to discussion and revision. I don’t think there will be any problems,” said Cândida.

 He added that the final text was not a victory for anyone, for FIFA, the government or the Congress.

“It was a mediation. The result is that governors in states that have prohibitions will have to ask legislative assemblies to approve a suspension during World Soccer Cup games,” concluded Cândido.

The sale of alcoholic beverages during World Cup soccer games is considered one of  FIFA’s “commercial rights.” Besides recognizing FIFA commercial rights, the bill approved yesterday also establishes temporary privileges for FIFA and its associates in Brazil during the period of the World Cup. For example, there will be an exclusive commercial area of  two kilometers around stadiums.

However, contrary to what FIFA has said it wants, discounted tickets will be available for senior citizens, students and the handicapped. The bill establishes that 10% of tickets to games Brazil plays will be so-called “type 4,” that is, with discounts, and that discounted tickets will be available for other games as well.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

Social Security

The Senate also approved a bill creating new social security funds for federal civil servants (Funpresp). Although the government originally wanted only one fund for all civil servants, pressure from the judicial branch especially, resulted in the creation of three separate funds, one for each branch of government (Funpresp-Exe, for the Executive ; a Funpresp-Leg, for the Legislative; and a Funpresp-Jud for the Judiciary).

All this is the result of heated debate that has lasted for over a decade and a bill that lingered in Congress for five years. The objective is to deal with the “special” social security system annual deficit caused by one million retired federal civil servants that is bigger (R$ 60 billion) than the deficit the “general” social security system has with 25 million retirees in the private sector (R$ 36 billion).

Under the provisions of the new system, federal civil servants who enter the government now will have their retirement benefits limited to the same ceiling as workers in the private sector; that is, R$ 3,916.20.

If they want more they have to contribute to the new Funpresp funds. Thus, besides the 11% contribution to the general system, they can contribute at least another 8.5% to Funpresp that will be matched by the government.

The new rules will only apply to those who enter federal civil service after the law is promulgated (which should be in a few days).

Those already working for the government will continue to receive their full salaries upon retirement, which means that the deficit will be brought under control, according to the government, sometime after 2047.



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