Will Colombia’s Alcohol Ban Decrease Fan Violence?

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

With the 2014 World Cup in full swing, violence erupted in the host city of Brazil and spilled across the border into neighboring Colombia. After defeating Ivory Coast and Greece, Colombian authorities reported 11 deaths nationwide and more than 13,700 violent incidents, most of which involved alcohol.

Combined with a number of additional injuries and fights, authorities in Colombia implemented a ban on booze for the remainder of the World Cup.

After defeating Ivory Coast and Greece, Colombian authorities reported at least 11 deaths nationwide and more than 13,700 violent incidents, most of which involved alcohol.

The Ban on Alcohol

Major Colombian cities began imposing alcohol bans as a way to discourage related violence during the World Cup. Cities with bans on liquor sales included Cali, Colombia’s third-biggest, and the regional capitals of Pasto, Neiva and Bucaramanga.
Most cities opted to enforce 24-hour bans on alcohol sales, each taking effect at 6 a.m. and allowing the option of renewal on a daily basis.

While the ban was enough for most Colombian cities, there were a few, including the Venezuelan border city of Cucuta, which decided to enact strict curfews for minors under the age of 18. At least one city has also banned the use of motorcycles and the public bearing of firearms during Cup games.

Though some soccer fans opposed the ban, only a few of Colombia’s larger cities, like Medellin and Barranquilla, were against the movement.

Is it Working?

Bogota, which reported nine deaths after the country’s first World Cup game on June 14, experienced zero homicides after implementing an alcohol ban during the second game.Several other countries have seen alcohol-related violence as participating teams attempted to advance through the World Cup tournament. After Colombia toppled Ivory Coast, another person was killed in Palmira and a total of 4,667 fights were reported around the country, according to the interior ministry. Another 80 people were reported injured.

Despite the fact that some fans feel inconvenienced by the alcohol ban, it is working to help curb violence. For example, Bogota, which reported nine deaths after the country’s first World Cup game on June 14, experienced zero homicides after implementing an alcohol ban during the second game.

Brazil Lifts Ban Under Questionable Circumstances

Despite other countries seeking to ban the sale of alcohol during the Cup, Brazil actually bucked its own legislation. Passed by the Brazilian government in 2003, lawmakers banned the sale of alcohol inside football arenas 11 years ago in effort to curb game-related violence. One problem, however, is that Budweiser is a major sponsor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

It would appear the sponsorship took precedence in this matter, as Brazil passed what is being called a “Budweiser bill,” allowing beer sales inside their soccer stadiums. Budweiser and Brahma beer, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, are on tap and being sold in plastic cups at each World Cup match.

Violence in the United States

Arrests and reports of World Cup violence in the United States are rare. So far, one of the only reported incidents took place at Vino’s Brew Pub in Arkansas. A large fight apparently erupted during the USA vs. Germany game shortly before halftime. Reports state over 80 people were involved in the fight, but most fled the scene when police arrived.


Also Read: A Sobering New Report on Alcohol-Related Deaths

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