Valcke hopes for changes in WCup bidding process
FIFA’s secretary general has floated an idea for a possible
change to the World Cup bidding process in response to a spate of
challenges in organizing next year’s tournament in Brazil, which he
says has ”clearly” proven more difficult than in prior host
Jerome Valcke told reporters at a briefing in Rio de Janeiro on
Wednesday he would like to see the highest-level political
approvals required as part of the bid package for countries hoping
to host the World Cup.
”I think it’s a good idea because it would make a support
that’s a national support versus just a bid submitted by a member
association with government guarantees,” he said, adding such a
measure would give the bid more legitimacy in the public eye.
The World Cup came under fire during a wave of mass, nationwide
protests that swept Brazil in June during the Confederations Cup
warm-up tournament, with many protesters complaining that billions
have been invested in state-of-the-art stadiums while basic public
services like education and health care languish.
Valcke said that such a measure would guarantee the population
is behind the event and cited a recent referendum in Switzerland,
which saw the country refrain from bidding to host the 2022 winter
Olympics after it was rejected by voters in a single province.
Valcke stressed that it’s just his own personal idea at this
point and has yet to be brought before FIFA’s executive committee,
but added he intended to bring it up with the organization’s
president, Sepp Blatter.
Seeking prior approval from the would-be host countries’ highest
legislative body could head off problems like those FIFA has face
in Brazil, Valcke said. The organization has repeatedly been at
loggerheads with Brazilian officials over organizational mishaps,
stadium delays and other issues.
The latest complications include recent appeals by the federal
public prosecutors’ office which, if granted, would see FIFA
stripped of certain tax and other benefits accorded to it under the
controversial World Cup law, which was approved by the Brazilian
congress last year.
Valcke said such last-minute maneuvering is ”not the way it
”Before Brazil got the organization of the World Cup . in 2007,
(it) signed these documents saying they would provide FIFA with the
following,” he said. ”You are asking for something, the person
accepts to give it to you in exchange for getting the organization
of the World Cup, you negotiate, you are flexible, you accept a
number of compromises and then suddenly someone is saying, `No, no,
no, finally even for this it’s too much’ one year prior to the
Valcke also responded to critical comments made by Rio de
Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes in a recent interview with Brazil’s ESPN
affiliate, when he said, ”the FIFA environment is not the best in
the world” and blasted the organization for its single-minded
focus on stadium readiness. Paes said the International Olympic
Committee, which is helping oversee preparations for the 2016
Olympics in Rio, is much more focused on leaving a lasting legacy
from the games.
Valcke shot back that it was normal for FIFA to focus more on
the stadiums than on infrastructure or other projects because
”without the stadiums there is no World Cup.”
”If (Paes) has not yet understood the legacy of the World Cup,
I’m speechless,” Valcke said. ”Maybe he should just look at the
Olympic Games and forget about the World Cup.”
Asked whether it has proven more difficult to plan the event in
Brazil than in other past host nations, Valcke responded ”no
Still, he sounded an optimistic note, citing progress in
finishing stadiums in the World Cup’s 12 host cities on deadline.
Valcke said visits this week to stadiums in Sao Paulo, the Amazon
city of Manaus, Curitiba in the south reassured him that all three
were proceeding on target.
Valcke said FIFA is working closely together with the Russian
government to get clarification and more details about the
country’s anti-gay law, but said FIFA will not ”give up on its
”We are intelligent people and there’s clearly a discussion
between the Russian government and FIFA,” Valcke said. ”We are
waiting again this clarification but we will, for sure, enter into
a discussion with them and we will not accept any discrimination
when it’s about the World Cup.”
SNTV producer Filipe de Almeida contributed to this report.