Thursday 19 January 2012

OMG culture shock!

Lovely, lovely beer
(image credit: JMCStrav CC BY 3.0)
It's not often that you'll see football mentioned on this website - in fact, we promise that this is the last time - but it's worth mentioning that FIFA have declared beer must be sold at all venues hosting matches in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. "Fifa General Secretary Jerome Valcke said the right to sell beer must be enshrined in a World Cup law the Brazilian Congress is considering," says the BBC.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, footy fans in Doha, Qatar are in high spirits. As reported by Al Jazeera: "Frenzied celebrations erupt across tiny Gulf nation after it wins bid to host 2022 football World Cup. Massive celebrations erupted on the streets of Doha, Qatar's capital, after Fifa, football's world governing body, announced the tiny Gulf country will host the sport's biggest tournament in 2022."

We foresee problems here: according to Wikipedia (thank goodness the blackout's over, eh folks? I bet there wasn't much school homework done last night), "Qatar bans the importation of alcohol and it is a punishable offense to drink alcohol or be drunk in public. Offenders may incur a prison sentence or deportation. Alcohol is, however, available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and non-Muslim expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system at the Qatar Distribution Center, the only distributor allowed to sell alcohol." 

Keeping tabs on small numbers of alcohol-drinking infidel is one thing, but does Qatar have a hope in hell on controlling several hundred thousand beer-swilling football fans? Probably not.

But then, Qatar also hosts a round of the UCI Asia  (cycling) Tour which is popular with European riders and fans who fancy a bit of winter sun. Fair play to them if the can stop the Dutch and Belgian fans getting shit-faced while they watch - have you seen Dutch Corner on the Alpe d'Huez?

In similar "OMG culture shock!!!" news, the Tour Down Under (ongoing atm) is all a-quiver at the moment after a woman complained because a foreign rider did what professional cyclists do during a race: yanked down his shorts and did the dirty deed right there in front of her and her eleven-year-old daughter. Apparently, public urination is strictly forbidden in Australia, which rather disproves the stereotype commonly believed by the British that "the Colonials lack fine manners" (apart from India, of course, where they probably had books on etiquette while we Brits were still living in caves - or, more likely, in Southern Europe wondering how to oust the Neanderthals).

Of course, in a civilised nation such as France the woman would grabbed the nearest receptacle and bottled it for future sale on Ebay.

Different strokes for...actually, we're not going there. But it's good to see that no matter how weird we all seem to one another, sport - and cycling in particular - brings us together.

(With thanks to @northernsooner and Wrongfellow)

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