Blatter to meet Brazil leader over WCup concerns

FIFA President Sepp Blatter plans to meet with Brazil’s head of

state to discuss concerns over the country’s preparations for the

2014 World Cup.

FIFA officials have repeatedly said preparations for Brazil 2014

are behind schedule. FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has told

Brazilian lawmakers that the pace had to be stepped up, saying ”we

are late, we can’t lose a day.”

Blatter expressed his concerns on Saturday following a meeting

of FIFA’s Executive Committee on the sidelines of the 2011 Club

World Cup.

”The executive committee is worried about that,” Blatter said.

”I will myself take up the World Cup in a presidential level and

in the first or second month of next year I will go and meet the

head of state.”

Valcke reported on the status of preparations for the 2014 World

Cup during the Dec. 16-17 meetings in Tokyo and noted that the

general World Cup Bill, which comprises the necessary government

guarantees regarding the organization of the event, has yet to be

enacted by the relevant authorities.

”Clearly, we are concerned that we have not received the

confirmation of the general World Cup Bill,” Blatter said.

Blatter also said that Ricardo Teixeira, the 2014 World Cup

organizing committee president, has asked for a leave of absence

until the end of January.

”Mr. Teixeira has asked for a leave of absence until the end of

January so he is out of FIFA and the 2014 organizing committee

until the end of January,” Blatter said.

Blatter also reiterated his desire to publish a document naming

soccer officials who took millions of dollars in kickbacks from

World Cup broadcast deals.

The BBC has reported that the document implicates former FIFA

President Joao Havelange and Teixeira. Havelange resigned as an IOC

member earlier this month.

FIFA postponed the publication of the document because ”legal

measures taken” by a party involved in the 10-year-old ISL scandal

prevented it from releasing the court papers during the executive

committee meetings in Tokyo.

”The executive committee and myself would like to open the file

as quickly as possible,” Blatter said. ”FIFA needs to lay the ISL

issue to rest, it’s unfortunate we can’t open it now but I am

hoping the Swiss court will allow us to open the file in early

2012. We cannot go to the past, we can only clarify it.”

FIFA also announced the list of members of the Independent

Governance Committee, a committee aimed at cleaning up world

soccer’s governing body and headed by Basel University professor

Mark Pieth.

The list has nine members including Sunil Gulati, president of

the U.S. Soccer Federation. Non-soccer members include Michael

Hershman, President and CEO of the Fairfax Group, and Peter

Goldsmith, who served as Attorney General in the United Kingdom

from 2001-2007.

At an October executive committee meeting, Blatter said the

panel would consist of up to 18 people, half from soccer, half from

politics, law and civil society.

In other developments, FIFA decided that the 2013 and 2014

editions of the Club World Cup would be held in Morocco after the

2012 tournament in Japan.