German fans frothing over WorldCup without home brew
22 April 2004
MUNICH – It’s proving hard for German fans to swallow – the 2006 football World Cup looks likely to go ahead without German beer.
Now shocked politicians are seeking talks with tournament organizers after it emerged that a US brewer has the exclusive right to sell its beer in and around World Cup stadiums.
A World Cup in Germany without traditional German beer is almost as inconceivable for Germans as the country’s football team failing to qualify for the tournament – or losing to England on penalties.
But the Germans may have scored an own goal in allowing football’s world organizing body FIFA to secure an exclusive contract with the US brewer Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Budweiser, as one of the tournament’s official sponsors.
In Bavaria, where beer is regarded as part of the state’s cultural heritage, senior government officials have met to discuss the serious prospect of the World Cup kicking off in Munich’s new Allianz stadium without any of its traditional wheat beers on sale.
The local Green party has called on state premier Edmund Stoiber to make the lack of German World Cup beer a top-level issue.
“We will very shortly be approaching the World Cup organizing committee to see what possibilities there still are,” said a culture ministry spokeswoman.
Both Munich and Nuremberg, another Bavarian World Cup venue, are now planning “fan villages” outside stadium precincts so supporters can buy German beer instead of American Budweiser.
Gerhard Ohneis, head of the Augustiner brewery, told Munich’s Merkur newspaper: “It’s annoying if there is not going to be any Munich beer in the Munich stadium.”
A spokesman for Paulaner brewery said a possibility might be to enable Bavarian beer to be sold in “neutral glasses”.
Bavarian Social Democrat parliamentary group leader Franz Maget said: “The cities will make sure that World Cup visitors are supplied with respectable products.”
Nuremberg has an additional problem – it won’t be able to sell its traditional Nuremberg sausages at World Cup games.
“McDonald’s has the exclusive on sausage supplies,” Maget said.
And if that were not enough, German carmakers will also be left on the sidelines, with players, VIPS and officials being shuttled to and from games by South Korean sponsor Hyundai.
Subject: German news