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
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
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
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
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.