No offers to replace Brazil for 2014: FIFA
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke on Monday insisted football's world governing body had received no offers from any country to stand in as hosts for the 2014 World Cup with Brazil racing to be ready in time.sports Updated: Jun 24, 2013 21:26 IST
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke on Monday insisted football's world governing body had received no offers from any country to stand in as hosts for the 2014 World Cup with Brazil racing to be ready in time.
"I have never received any official offer from countries around the world to stage the World Cup in 2014," Valcke said in Rio.
Valcke dismissed fears that Brazil, which is hosting the Confederations Cup dress rehearsal event and has been beset by popular protests against the multi billion dollar cost of hosting the Confederations Cup, the World Cup and the Olympics in 2016, would not make the date as it races to overhaul infrastructure and ready 12 venues across the country.
"We have seen an amazing amount of work delivered for the Confederations Cup," said Valcke, while stressing once again that for the World Cup "we have to be ready on time - the Confederations Cups is different from the World Cup."
And he underlined FIFA's constant insistence that venues "must be ready for the end of December 2013," allowing logistical final touches to be put in place thereafter ahead of a June 2014 kickoff.
Valcke, who caused a storm last year when he said Brazil needed a "kick up the backside" to get World Cup preparations on track, said the Confederations Cup had been a great success.
He also insisted it was not for FIFA to pass public judgement on the political situation in Brazil, where more than a million people have protested against poor public services and corruption.
Valcke compared the Confederations Cup, a competition for just eight teams compared with 32 for the World Cup, to the Brazil side, who have hit form to reach the semi-finals after the legendary Pele said they were not good enough to win the event.
"When the Cup started people in the Brazilian team were asking about the qualities of the team and Neymar. But coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has found his eleven, he has been able to bring talents together and build a team. That is exactly what we have been doing.
"The work which was delivered in the last few days (up to the June 15 kickoff) up was just amazing," Valcke said.
"It was a challenge but the challenge went well."
Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo said Brazil had a "special commitment to the World Cup and will look to host a celebration as bright as the world and the country expects it to be."
Looking even further ahead to include the 2016 Olympics which Rio will host he said that the hope was those two events would improve life for the people of Brazil.
"We want the World Cup and the Olympics to be a means of improving living conditions for the people and providing opportunities for the country."