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Plea for a Dry World Cup Is Scotched : Sports: Pasadena rejects request for citywide ban on liquor sales in effort to avert fights among soccer fans.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

You can hoist your glass: The Cup is not going to cork the keg in Pasadena.

Officials said Friday that they have no intention of imposing a citywide ban on beer, wine and liquor during the upcoming World Cup soccer games as tourney organizers want them to do.

The head of the World Cup Organizing Committee has asked mayors of all nine U.S. cities where championship matches will be played to enact the unusual drinking prohibition as a way of preventing hooliganism that has marred games in Europe.

Game organizers are seeking the “outright banning of sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages” in host communities during the games, Committee Chairman Alan Rothenberg said.

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His group is contemplating such a ban inside the Rose Bowl and at other stadiums during the tournament, which runs from June 17 to July 17, he said.

Citywide bans on the sale of alcohol on game days have become common in Europe, where drunken fans have turned violent and gained notoriety as soccer hooligans.

The 1990 games became known as the “Teetotaler World Cup” when all 12 Italian cities hosting that 52-game series announced citywide alcohol restrictions.

That is not going to happen in Pasadena, Cole promised Friday.

“There’s not going to be some Draconian city ban,” Cole said. “We haven’t even checked to see if it’s legal. Unless the governor is prepared to issue a one-day state of emergency for the city, I don’t think we could do it.”

World Cup officials said their proposed no-drinking policy comes even though one of the games’ major sponsors is Budweiser. Anheuser-Busch Co. has paid a reported $7 million to support the soccer series.

The idea has rankled brewing company officials in St. Louis.

“We’re disappointed. We think it’s not only an empty symbolic gesture, but could even be problematic,” said Joe Castellano, an Anheuser-Busch vice president. “It’s un-American, you can put it that way.”

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Pasadena business owners were ready to toast that news.

“It’s a relief,” said Billy Bitonti, who spent $150,000 to double the size of his Domenico’s Big D Sports Bar in preparation for the games. “I have a big security crew. Soccer fans can’t be any rougher than 23-year-old college drinkers.”


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