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
”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
”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.