Blatter: Brazil must speed up World Cup prep

FIFA President Sepp Blatter urged Brazil on Monday to speed up

its preparations for the 2014 World Cup.

Blatter said Brazil’s project was ”not progressing very

quickly” and lagged behind even where South Africa stood when the

successful 2010 host fell behind with its construction

schedule.

”I must say that in comparison with the state of play between

South Africa and Brazil three years before the World Cup, Brazil is

behind South Africa. It’s a fact,” Blatter told reporters.

Referring to how little time remained, Blatter said ”it’s

tomorrow. The Brazilians think it’s just the day after tomorrow.

What they shall do is to give a little bit more speed now in the

organization.”

Blatter said the slow progress meant Rio de Janeiro and Sao

Paulo could be left off the program for the 2013 Confederations

Cup, which is designed as a test event for the 32-team

tournament.

”The World Cup stadiums are still in the process of being

discussed between the city mayors and the state governors,” he

said.

Blatter reminded that the qualifying draw for FIFA’s six

confederations was scheduled in July. Brazilian authorities still

have not agreed on a host city for the event.

Speaking at a Swiss government-backed media event, he expressed

optimism that a proven goal-line technology system would be in

place in Brazil.

Blatter also promised FIFA would have a zero-tolerance approach

to corruption and bad behavior on and off the field.

He outlined a new project for the FIFA Congress on June 1, where

he’s hoping to win election for a fourth four-year term.

”I will present something very special there but I will not now

disclose what is the content,” Blatter said. ”It’s to fight

corruption, all cheating and discrimination.

”We also want to appeal to players, coaches, referees to behave

on the field of play,” he said, adding that illegal betting and

match-fixing would be addressed.

Blatter acknowledged Swiss public authorities had called on FIFA

to be more transparent after corruption allegations clouded bidding

contests for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups last year.

FIFA’s ethics panel barred two executive committee members from

voting and suspended four other senior officials from duty. The two

voters, Nigerian Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii from Tahiti, have

said they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to

overturn their sanctions of three years and one year,

respectively.

Blatter said the subject would be an important item on the

congress agenda.

”We’re looking at our game. We want to be transparent when it

comes to activities that are, let’s say, forbidden,” he said.

However, Blatter said he had rejected requests from Swiss

authorities that members of FIFA’s judicial committees should be

nominated by people from outside soccer’s governing body.

The FIFA president suggested the Swiss parliament and states

would not accept having outside bodies choose their legal

officials.

”If it is valid for the government, it shall be valid for

FIFA,” Blatter said.