Brazil federation rejects Blatter’s WCup criticism

The Brazilian football federation rejected criticism from FIFA

President Sepp Blatter over delays in preparations for the 2014

World Cup, saying Tuesday that the country is on track to

successfully host the tournament.

Federation president Ricardo Teixeira said preparations are

going as planned and wants Blatter to personally visit the country

to see the improvements.

”Again, I would like to invite FIFA’s president to come to

Brazil to see the progress from up close,” Teixeira said in a

statement.

Teixeira said he was surprised to hear the criticism because

Blatter had lauded the preparations after a meeting with the local

organizing committee in Zurich earlier this month.

Blatter urged Brazil on Monday to speed up preparations. He said

Brazil’s project is ”not progressing very quickly” and even lags

behind South Africa, which fell behind with its construction

schedule for last year’s tournament.

Teixeira said there is no need to put pressure on local

authorities because construction work is going as scheduled.

Blatter claimed plans for World Cup stadiums are still in the

process of being discussed between city mayors and state governors

and run the risk of facing delays, but Teixeira dismissed such

concerns.

”I’m not aware of any conflict between mayors and governors in

any of the 12 World Cup host cities,” the Brazilian official

said.

Teixeira also dismissed Blatter’s worries regarding the ”slow

progress” in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, which could be left off

the program for the 2013 Confederations Cup.

”I affirm again that it was never announced that Maracana

(Stadium) would not be delivered on time,” he said. ”Regarding

the stadium in Sao Paulo, although the construction work hasn’t

started yet, we are working to solve the technical issues and we

have guarantees from everyone involved that the stadium will be

delivered as scheduled.”

Brazil Sports Minister Orlando Silva also downplayed Blatter’s

criticism, but acknowledged that the country would likely face

difficulties if some projects scheduled to begin this year end up

being delayed.

”Seventy percent of the urban mobility projects need to start

in 2011,” he said. ”It’s crucial for the success of the World Cup

that they get underway now.”