Brazil's president denies World Cup delays
Brazil's president downplayed concerns about delays in preparations for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics on Wednesday, insisting the country will be ready to host both events.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the preparations for the 2011 Military Games and the 2013 Confederations Cup also are on track.
''There are no delays either for the World Cup or for the Olympics,'' Silva told a live online broadcast on Twitter. ''We have the will, the money and the commitment, and everything is set for the best World Cup, the best Confederations Cup, the best Military Games and the best Olympics in the world.''
The president's comments came two days after Sports Minister Orlando Silva warned that local officials must speed up work to upgrade the nation's airports to avoid an ''embarrassment'' during the World Cup.
''We made the decisions that we had to make and gave the money to the states so they can do their part,'' the president said.
He also criticized FIFA for imposing ''European standards'' for the construction and the upgrade of stadiums for the World Cup. He specifically complained of the FIFA veto to Morumbi stadium in Sao Paulo, which has forced the city to build another venue to try to host the competition's opening match.
''Morumbi is ready, it's nonsense to discuss problems just because FIFA comes here with European standards,'' said the president, an avid soccer fan. ''I have been going to Morumbi since 1962, watching matches with 40,000, 50,000 fans and I have never had any problems.''