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Beer may return to Russian stadiums: Putin

Alcohol abuse is a major problem in Russia, where more than half of all deaths among people aged 15 to 54 are caused by alcohol.



St Petersburg: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised to consider lifting the current ban on sale and advertisement of beer at football stadiums in Russia, which will host the World Cup championship in 2018.

"What do you think about bringing beer back to stadiums?" Putin was asked at a meeting with football fans.

"It would not necessarily trigger a wave of alcohol abuse and mayhem in the bleachers," one fan said, adding that "they sell beer at stadiums in Europe and elsewhere".

Russia will be hosting the World Cup for the first time in 2018, and for Putin, who is widely expected to return as president in the March elections, putting on a show to remember would be a matter of personal pride.

Under Russian law, beer sales are prohibited at stadiums. Banners advertising beer are also not allowed on football pitches. However, brewers are major sponsors of FIFA, the World Cup`s governing body.

"One should know his norm -- once he`s drunk three litres it`s time to calm down and stop," Putin said.

Alcohol abuse is a major problem in Russia, where more than half of all deaths among people aged 15 to 54 are caused by alcohol, according to the international medical journal The Lancet.

IANS

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