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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Oh, You Wanted to Kiss that World Cup?

Anheuser-Busch officials are apologizing to Boston soccer fans who are as red faced as a Budweiser can over a visit to the city by soccer's holy grail, the FIFA World Cup. Fans in the North End -- including the Mayor of Boston who kissed the trophy --thought they were having their picture taken with the World Cup won this past summer in Germany by the beloved Italian team.

Fans lined up to pay $5 a piece for photographs. Having been in the North End after watching the Italy team beat Spain in the 1994 World Cup in a game played at Foxboro Stadium, I can tell you the fan base is as fervent as it is in Rome. One little problem: The Boston Herald reported A-B does not have the 2006 World Cup on tour. That one is still in Italy and likely not to go anywhere. The one A-B has on tour is the trophy that will be awarded in 2010 in South Africa.

"How could a national corporation like Budweiser be in a scam like this?" Mayor Thomas M. Menino is quoted as saying in the Herald. "I'm going to write them a nasty letter this afternoon. Why would they do this to the public?"

The folks at A-B say they apologize for "any misunderstanding" and pledged to donate proceeds from the photos to charity, to match those proceeds with a donation from the company, and to cover any city costs.

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