FIFA, Brazil on same page again for 2014 World Cup

Peace is at hand for Brazilian soccer officials and FIFA.

Both sides say they have overcome their differences and will

cooperate fully to ensure the 2014 World Cup is a success.

The nearly six-hour meeting Tuesday was the first between Brazil

Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and Jerome Valcke since the FIFA

secretary general’s remarks about the country’s slow pace of

preparations earlier this year ignited a feud between the two


FIFA announced after the joint summit that a member of the

Brazilian government will join the local World Cup organizing

committee, allowing it to be more closely connected to the

decisions needed for the country’s preparations. Soccer’s governing

body also said organizers will try to meet every six weeks in

Brazil to make sure the preparations stay on track.

”There is no more dissent, no more problems, everything has

been solved,” FIFA President Sepp Blatter said through a

translator following the meeting in Zurich. ”We are not speaking

about personal problems anymore. That is solved and over.”

The meeting happened about two months after the Brazilian

government said it was cutting ties with Valcke because of his

harsh comments, eventually prompting both Valcke and Blatter to

formally apologize.

”This summit represented a strong signal from the Brazilian

government that it is fully committed to our partnership and shared

responsibility to stage the most successful FIFA World Cup ever,”

Blatter said. ”We have today laid the foundations for achieving

our joint goal in an atmosphere of mutual cooperation and


Rebelo praised the opportunity to put the spat in the past and

focus only on the challenges of preparing Brazil for the World


”We had a very constructive and victorious meeting,” he said.

”The decisions taken and the discussions we had showed that there

is a complete agreement between FIFA, the Brazilian government and

the local organizing committee. This will help us overcome any

barriers or challenges of hosting the World Cup, which will live up

to the expectations of Brazil and the world.

”We ended the meeting with FIFA today convinced that our ties

have been strengthened, that trust exists and that together we can

overcome all challenges.”

Valcke said the meeting allowed for a ”frank discussion” with

all those involved.

”It has been a meeting which essentially allowed each of us to

understand where the difficulty lies,” the secretary general said.

”Reports were made, questions were asked.”

Valcke said Brazil sports ministry’s executive secretary Luis

Fernandes was made a permanent government representative in the

local organizing committee. Also joining was FIFA’s Brazilian

Executive Committee member Marco Polo Del Nero.

The goal is to have the committee meet every six weeks, or no

longer than two months, for a status report. This will ”allow us

to pinpoint the problems and find solutions. We are 13 months away

from the Confederations Cup and 25 months from the World Cup. We

have to make sure that fans and everybody will find a perfect

setting” in Brazil, Valcke said.

He said the local organizing committee in South Africa also had

members of the government involved and the results were


Jose Maria Marin, the president of the local committee in

Brazil, said the meeting was an example of ”loyal,” ”frank” and

”constructive dialogue.”

”From now on there is total integration of those responsible

for organizing the World Cup. We will work together,” Marin said.

”This is very important because this will bring peace of mind to

all of those responsible for organizing the World Cup in 2014 and

it will bring peace of mind to the Brazilian fans.”

Rebelo reiterated that there are no significant delays in

stadium construction, even though some local watchdog groups have

exposed problems with the pace of preparations.

Rebelo admitted, however, that the committee is looking into

using military airports to help the country meet the increased

demand for passengers during the World Cup. Inadequate airport

infrastructure is one of the greatest challenges local authorities

are facing. Rebelo said the option will only be presented to FIFA

after the country’s defense ministry approves it.

There was no indication whether discussions were held about the

northeastern cities of Recife and Salvador participating in the

Confederations Cup next year. FIFA inspectors visited the two

cities recently and a decision is expected by June.