FIFA delays 2014 inspection trip to Brazil

FIFA has postponed a planned 2014 World Cup inspection trip to

Brazil next week by its top administrator Jerome Valcke, who

sparked anger there by criticizing delays in preparations.

The governing body said Friday that FIFA President Sepp Blatter

will first visit Brazil and meet with President Dilma Rousseff.

Blatter ”has personally written today (Friday) to the President

of Brazil Dilma Rousseff in order to schedule a date for an agreed

meeting,” FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA said that secretary general Valcke will resume his

scheduled tour of 2014 host cities after the presidents meet, which

could happen next week.

Valcke planned to join former Brazil playing greats Ronaldo and

Bebeto in Recife, Brasilia and Cuiaba on the second of six tours

this year. Ronaldo and Bebeto are members of the local World Cup

organizing committee.

Valcke angered Brazil last Friday, saying: ”You have to push

yourself, kick your (backside),” when asked in England about

problems planning the 32-nation, monthlong World Cup tournament

which will attract hundreds of thousands of fans from across the

world.

Valcke is also responsible for overseeing the 2013

Confederations Cup, an eight-nation event designed to test Brazil’s

infrastructure. It kicks off in June next year, although it is

still unclear if Recife and Salvador will be ready to host

matches.

Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo described the comments as

”unacceptable, offensive and inappropriate.” He demanded Valcke’s

removal from the project, before accepting written apologies from

the French official and Blatter.

”I don’t know what FIFA thinks about keeping the secretary

general as the interlocutor (with the government),” Rebelo said

Friday. ”I choose not to comment. Let’s wait to see what happens.

I reassure that Brazil desires to work with FIFA for the World

Cup.”

Despite the soured relations, FIFA officials continue to visit

and work with Brazil’s local organizing committee. A team of nearly

40 people were in the city of Cuiaba on Friday.