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Saturday 1 July 2023

Paris Olympics to be alcohol free; unless you are a VIP

Rich and well-connected sports fans will be able to enjoy Champagne and other alcoholic drinks while watching events at next year's Paris Olympic Games.

Ordinary ticket holders in the stadia will not be so lucky.

In a stunning piece of hypocrisy, the IOC and local organisers decided there would be one rule for VIPs and sponsors, and another for the plebs.

French law bans the sale of alcohol in stadiums to the general public, but allows for exemptions to a limited number of events per year. So VIP guests in stadium hospitality areas will be allowed to quaff alcoholic drinks to their hearts' content. 

Ordinary fans will have to make do with soft drinks and water after organisers decided not to seek an exemption to the law. 

Under Evin’s law, in place since 1991, alcohol is banned from sale to the general public inside stadiums in France, and Games organisers had not sought an exemption, a Paris 2024 spokesperson said. The law allows for an exemption for 10 events per organiser per year per municipality.

“Paris 2024 will be organising more than 700 competition sessions over 15 days of competition,” the spokesperson said. 

“It is the strict application of French law that allows catering services that include the provision of alcohol to operate in hospitality areas, as they are governed by a separate law on catering.”

An exception. How very French. 

Alcohol was also banned from stadiums at the Covid-delayed Olympics in Tokyo, but events were eventually held without spectators due to the Covid pandemic. 

Beer and wine were widely available at the 2012 and 2016 Games in London and Rio de Janeiro.

For this year’s Rugby World Cup, which also takes place in France this September and October, organisers have negotiated an exemption for the tournament. 

So good news for notoriously thirsty rugby fans. 

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