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SPORTS | 10-11-2021 17:03

Uruguayan tourism sweats over Copa Libertadores final alcohol ban

Uruguayan lawmakers and workers in the tourism industry call for suspension of alcohol ban, so that football fans can celebrate the Copa Libertadores final in Montevideo with a few beers.

A Uruguayan legislator on Wednesday pleaded with colleagues to suspend an alcohol ban so that football fans can celebrate the Copa Libertadores final in Montevideo on November 27.

Thousands of Brazilians have already booked up all the hotels and rooms available in Montevideo and its surroundings ahead of the final between two of that country's giants – Flamengo and Palmeiras, the winners of South America's equivalent of the Champions League in the previous two seasons.

Brazilian football fans are well known for their love of beer and representatives of Uruguay's tourism sector are in a panic over the potential loss of a windfall.

The election alcohol ban is due to begin while the match is played, meaning afterwards no-one would be able to celebrate victory or drown their sorrows.

On Sunday November 28, Uruguay will hold compulsory elections to pick the representatives for the state social security body, BPS.

A longstanding Uruguayan law prohibits the sale of alcohol from 7.30pm the day before an election and for the entirety of polling day.

"It coincides with the BPS election, which is important, but clearly limits the ... trip for all those coming to enjoy the football final," said senator Germán Coutinho, who proposed a one-off suspension of the alcohol ban.

"The ban has a different focus. It was thought up for national elections where there is much more passion, more competition, and which is a moment for peace and reflection."

He said to apply it on this instance would ruin the party.

"Uruguay has been waiting for this for a long time, to be the center of America and the world," said Coutinho.

Daniel Fernández, the president of a body that represents the interests of bars and stores that sell alcohol, told local newspaper El País last month that South American football's governing body CONMEBOL had asked the sector to provide "an abundance of beer ... well chilled" for the Brazilian fans.

Around 1.8 million Uruguayan residents are registered to vote in the BPS election.

Even if Coutinho's move is unsuccessful, football fans may not go thirsty.

While the sale of alcohol is banned, the law does not actually include a sanction against those that break it.



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