World Cup 2014 official champagne unveiled amid Brazil protests

Taittinger outs itself as Fifa partner for ongoing Confederations Cup and next year's tournament as demonstrations rage on

Sensitivity has never been Fifa's strong point, but even its officials must have cringed when the official champagne for the 2014 World Cup was announced amid huge protests in Brazil against inequality and overspending on stadiums.

More than a million people took to the streets last Thursday and demonstrations continue on a daily basis in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and dozens of other cities to demand that public money be spent on hospitals, schools and public transport rather than lavish mega-events.

In the latest clashes on Thursday night, 90 people were injured when a crowd of 50,000 people met with a cloud of police teargas and rubber bullets as they tried to approach a stadium in Fortaleza where Spain were playing Italy in the Confederations Cup. At least five people have died in protests since the tournament started.

Yet Fifa's partner Taittinger has chosen this moment to announce a sponsorship deal that makes it the "official champagne" for the current tournament as well as next year's finals. It is not quite a Marie Antoinette moment for Fifa, which has yet to mention the news on its website or include Taittinger among its marketing affiliates. But the winemaker has already popped the cork. "Champagne Taittinger will manifest its presence at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the months to come through various initiatives with the help of its 150 distributors around the world," it announced.

At more than 220 reais (£64) a bottle in Brazilian supermarkets, Taittinger is popular among the novo rico (new rich) in a country where more than 10 million people live in extreme poverty, often without access to clean water.

Although inequality has fallen in recent years, the explosion of public protest has highlighted frustrations at the continued gulf in living standards.

The billions spent on new and refurbished stadiums for the World Cup have been a major focus for demonstrators, but Fifa has remained aloof. "I can understand that people are not happy, but they should not use football to make their demands heard," the body's president, Sepp Blatter, said last week. "Brazil asked to host the World Cup. We didn't force it on them."

Fifa expects a record income from broadcasting and sponsorship deals from the World Cup, none of which goes into Brazil's public coffers. More protests are expected for the Confederations Cup final in Rio's Maracanã stadium on Sunday.

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