MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – A leading lawmaker in Russia has called for the ban on selling beer at sporting events to be lifted ahead of the country hosting the football World Cup in 2018, echoing a similar earlier appeal by President Vladimir Putin.
Igor Rudensky, who heads the Committee on Economic Policy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the State Duma, said that allowing the sale of beer in stadiums would be in tune with widely accepted international practice.
The ban could potentially be lifted as early as this year.
Both the sale and advertisement of beer were banned at sports venues in 2005 as part of a wide series of measures aimed at slashing alcohol consumption in Russia.
Rudensky said that while the prohibition of beer could be reconsidered, spirits should remain banned and that fans needed to develop a more responsible drinking culture. Under the proposal made by Rudensky, the sale of beer would be restricted to stadium eateries.
Then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said two years ago that beer should be allowed at the 2018 World Cup.
“In Europe and all over the world, beer is sold without problems,” Putin said. “During the World Cup, we have to allow it in any case, because beer companies are some of the major sponsors of FIFA and UEFA.”
Industry experts expect returning beer to sporting events would also benefit teams’ bottom line through the sale of lucrative distribution rights to breweries.