World Cup

Ronaldo expects peaceful World Cup

Ronaldo inspects the Maracana in the lead up to the World Cup.
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Ronaldo is sure the World Cup will pass off peacefully despite renewed fears about civil unrest in his homeland.

Global football convention Soccerex, due to take place on the eve of the World Cup draw next month, was canceled on Tuesday evening.

Organizers of the business event at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro cited the withdrawal of local government support due to "civil unrest" as the reason why the conference, which England boss Roy Hodgson was due to attend, had been scrapped.

The state government of Rio denied that was the reason, claiming Soccerex organizers did not apply for the correct funding.

Nevertheless, security remains an area of concern ahead of the tournament, which takes place in June 2014.

The Confederations Cup was marred by violent protests from unruly Brazilians demanding a bigger slice of the money generated from the tournament.

Double World Cup-winning striker Ronaldo, who is an ambassador for the tournament's organizing committee, expressed sympathy with some of the protestors, but said the tournament will not be blighted by similar problems next summer.

"Brazil is a civilized country," Brazil's second-highest goalscorer told a press conference in London.

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"It's a country that is known worldwide for being very hospitable to tourists.

"I am sure there won't be any problems in the World Cup because the last survey showed that the Brazil population is in favor of the World Cup.

"The Brazil population sees the World Cup as an opportunity for there to be investment in Brazil.

"Brazil is experiencing something really special now. It's a moment of change.

"We must listen to any non-violent protests. We won't tolerate any violent protests, but I don't believe there will be any type of protest during the World Cup."

Protests in the South American country have continued since the end of the Confederations Cup in June.

This week Rio was awash with anti-government protesters and riot police fired tear gas at rioters in the south-eastern city of Sao Paulo.

FIFA marketing director Thierry Weil says the cancelling of Soccerex does not have any reflection on Brazil's status as World Cup hosts.

"It's never good to cancel such an event but it will not touch anything in the World Cup," he said.

"[FIFA] have been surprised at this change of plan, but I wouldn't compare Soccerex to the World Cup. "We do not believe this will have any influence with regards to the organization in any way."

Soccerex has organized an annual convention since 1995. Organizers said that they will take legal action against the Rio state government.

A Soccerex statement read: "It is with great disappointment that we must confirm that the final Soccerex Global Convention in Brazil will now not be taking place.

"With the ongoing civil unrest, the Rio de Janeiro State Secretary of Sport took the political decision to withdraw their support from the Soccerex Global Convention.

"Preparations for the event at the Maracana Stadium were well advanced with content planned, speakers confirmed and partnerships in place.

"To be summarily canceled in such a cavalier fashion, having hosted 33 events over five continents is extremely frustrating but nevertheless it has happened and is in contravention of all of the contractual obligations of the Rio State Government, who have been notified of our intention to instigate legal proceedings for substantial compensation."

Next year's convention is due to be held in Manchester.

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