FIFA announced Thursday here that people attending the Confederations Cup soccer matches in June and the World Cup next year - both to be held in Brazil - will not be allowed to smoke in the stadiums.
"There will be competitions without tobacco. We acknowledge that the use of tobacco can harm people in the stadium. It will not be permitted to smoke inside the stadiums at the Confederations Cup or at the World Cup," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke announced at a press conference in Rio.
The chief of international soccer's governing body added that "there is nothing worse than sitting in a stadium next to a person who's smoking and having them blow all the smoke in one's face."
He added, however, that the six stadiums to be used in the Confederations Cup matches and the two for the World Cup will have specially-designated areas where tobacco use will be allowed and people can go there to light up during breaks in the action.
"Smokers will not be left without any place to smoke during the breaks," he said.
Valcke displayed two of the signs that will be posted in all the stadiums saying that smoking is prohibited there.
The FIFA boss, who has already admitted being an ex-smoker, specifically asked two other smokers - former soccer star Ronaldo and Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rabelo - to pose for photos exhibiting the signs.
"Another incentive to stop smoking," said Ronaldo.
On its Web site, FIFA said that it will also prohibit any type of advertising or promotional material related to tobacco in the stadiums.
The organization said that this will not be the first time the no-smoking restriction has been imposed, given that all World Cup matches since 2002 have been played at "tobacco-free stadiums." EFE