If you want a drink at the Paris Olympics, be prepared to shell out. Only fans in pricy VIP areas will have access to alcohol.
A country world-renowned for its alcohol exports limits public consumption within its borders. Thanks to a law called Evin's Law, alcohol sales are banned to the general public in France's sports stadiums. Exceptions are allowed, but a spokesperson for the Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games told Reuters on Tuesday that they won't seek one, citing the sheer number of events across two-plus weeks. Exceptions are limited to 10 events per organization per municipality.
“Paris 2024 will be organizing more than 700 competition sessions over 15 days of competition,” the spokesperson said.
Fans in VIP sections, however, will be allowed to imbibe as they please. They won't be subject to the restrictions, thanks to a loophole that permits alcohol distribution in hospitality areas.
“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," the spokesperson said.
Le Parisien reports that VIPs in some sections will be greeted with a champagne service and provided access to bars serving wine and beer.
Evin's Law was enacted in 1991 as an effort to restrict the public distribution and marketing of alcohol and tobacco in France. The law restricts advertising on television, marketing toward young people and sponsorships by alcohol brands among other regulations. International teams and events with alcohol sponsors are forced to rebrand within France's borders. A Rugby competition called the Heineken Cup is known as the H Cup in France.
The Tokyo Olympics were likewise slated to prohibit alcohol sales at events. That restriction became moot when the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the games until 2021 and restricted fans from attending. Alcohol consumption was also heavily restricted at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Alcohol was sold at the two previous Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and London in 2012.