- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 3, 2014

Everyone knows Friday is a holiday in the U.S., but Colombia is getting in on the action, too — well, kind of.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has decided to give government workers the afternoon off so they can watch their national soccer team take on host nation Brazil in a quarterfinal of the World Cup, according to BBC News.

The “civic day” will begin at 1 p.m. so the soccer-mad country can gird for kickoff at 3 p.m. local time. BBC reports some local government officials are following suit, and Mr. Santos will fly to Brazil and back on Friday so he can watch the team play in Fortaleza.

Colombia has performed well during the tournament, winning all of its games and earning its first-ever quarterfinal appearance at the World Cup. Its leading scorer, James Rodriguez, has shot to stardom in part because people are not sure how to pronounce his name (it’s “Hahm-ez”).

But Friday’s celebration comes with a catch — no booze. Places such as the capital, Bogota, and the city of Cali have banned the sale of alcohol on match days because of a spike in domestic incidents and fights that resulted in deaths during earlier matches, according to the BBC.

“The authorities in some cities including Cali have also banned people from carrying shaving foam and flour in public after police said the liberal throwing of both during celebrations sparked many fights,” the British outlet reports.



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