VIPs can quaff champagne to their hearts' delight while watching the Paris Olympics, but the average fan will have to make do with soft drinks and water after organizers decided not to seek an exemption to a law prohibiting the sale of alcohol in stadiums.
Under Evin's Law, which has been in place since 1991, alcohol is banned from sale to the general public inside stadiums in France, and Games organizers had not sought an exemption, a Paris 2024 spokesperson told Reuters.
The law allows for an exemption for 10 events per organizer per year per municipality.
"Paris 2024 will be organizing more than 700 competition sessions over 15 days of competition," the spokesperson said.
Such an exemption would have required a change in the law for an event the size of the Games.
"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 added.
Alcohol was also banned from stadiums at the COVID-delayed Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but events were eventually held without spectators due to the pandemic. Beer and wine was available at the 2012 and 2016 Games in London and Rio de Janeiro.
There is better news for fans traveling to France for this year's Rugby World Cup, however, as organizers have negotiated an exemption for the tournament, which will be staged in September and October.