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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Wassup with our beer? Germans ask
Waitress serving German beer
Patriotic Germans are in a froth at the Budweiser deal
America may run the world these days, but Europeans pride themselves on two areas of undisputed superiority - football and beer.

Until now, that is: Fifa, football's governing body, has decided that fans at the 2006 World Cup in Germany should not drink the local brew.

A sponsorship deal between Fifa and US brewer Anheuser-Busch could bar German beers from World Cup venues.

German politicians are beside themselves with patriotic fury.

"A lot of breweries support sports... but the minute there's a little money to be earned, they're left out in the cold," fumed Hermann Winkler, president of the state of Saxony's sports federation.


Bavarian government officials have said they will request talks with Fifa to see if the contract with Anheuser-Busch leaves any room for manoeuvre, according to media reports.

One strategy under consideration is to set up a series of "fan villages" around World Cup football stadiums where local products, including beer, could be sold.

Germany is fiercely proud of its numerous small breweries, most of which use only natural ingredients in accordance with centuries-old purity laws.

A spokesman for Fifa's World Cup organising committee said a local sponsorship deal would have been problematic because of the huge number of brewers operating in Germany.

"There is a special beer in each city, but we have a tournament which is held all over Germany," he told the BBC's World Business Report.

Spending power

Anheuser-Busch, the world's biggest brewer and the maker of Budweiser beer, has carried out sponsorship or marketing activities at every World Cup since 1986.

The latest exclusive sponsorship contract is reportedly worth 40m euros (26m; $47m).

According to trade magazine Brauwelt, Germany's 1,200 brewers spend a total of about 450m euros on marketing and advertising a year.

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