Pele says he was alarmed by World Cup delays
Pele says it was scary to see how far behind Brazil was in its
preparations to host the 2014 World Cup.
He said on Thursday that it made him sad that it took so long
for the country to start seriously preparing for the tournament,
but added he was confident Brazil will do what needs to be done in
The football great defended FIFA for asking Brazil to urgently
approve a law establishing the legal framework needed for the World
Cup, saying the government knew of the world governing body’s
demands when it bid to host the tournament.
Pele also said Neymar did the right thing by choosing to stay in
Brazil instead of accepting an offer from a European club, adding
that Santos has a good chance of beating Barcelona in the Club
World Cup next month in Japan.
Pele, the World Cup’s official ambassador in Brazil, said he was
surprised with some of the delays in the 12 host cities, including
in construction for some of the stadiums that will be used in the
monthlong tournament scheduled to begin in less than three
”It was scary,” he said. ”It is sad and it worries me that we
have to go through this even though we knew eight years ago that
the World Cup was going to be held in Brazil.”
He said, however, that President Dilma Rousseff was fully aware
of the challenges Brazil was facing and won’t let Brazil fail.
”It seems everything is being solved, there are some delays but
I’m certain that everything will be ready,” he said. ”We have
problems with transportation and communications, but the government
will do everything necessary to get things ready.”
Pele made the comments at a press conference to promote a
research institute that bears his name and is aimed at helping
children across Brazil.
He also said he thought FIFA was right to ask Brazil to sign the
law that will allow Brazil to deliver the final commitments it made
to FIFA in its bid to host the World Cup and the 2013
The new law would regulate commercial rights, alcohol sales and
advertising rules for the tournament, among other things. But many
Brazilian lawmakers, including former striker Romario, are hesitant
because the proposed law allegedly gives FIFA too many powers.
”FIFA cannot be blamed for anything,” Pele said. ”This is not
new for the Brazilian government. It accepted all of these demands,
now it has to find a solution and I know that it will find
Pele also praised young Brazil striker Neymar for agreeing to
stay with Santos until the World Cup, and dismissing a move to
clubs such as Real Madrid or Barcelona, which reportedly tried to
sign him several times.
”We always thought that it would be better for him to stay in
Brazil for as long as possible and we always tried to convince him
of that,” said Pele, who was Santos’ biggest star in the 1960s.
”It’s better if he stays here until he can become more mature to
play in Europe.”
Neymar, one of Brazil’s most promising young players in years,
will be 22 years old after the World Cup.
Pele said Neymar was ”technically” better than Argentina’s
Lionel Messi, but admitted that the Brazilian still has a lot to
prove if he wants to be considered the best player in the world one
Pele said, however, that Neymar can help lead Santos past
Barcelona if the teams meet at the Club World Cup.
”Santos definitely can beat Barcelona,” he said. ”Obviously,
Barcelona is a much more organized team today, it has been playing
together for a long time, but Santos also has a good team and in
one game it has the capability of beating Barcelona.”
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