Monday, April 2, 2012

'We want actions, not words' - Blatter unhappy with Brazil's World Cup 2014 preparation progress

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has vented his frustration with the lack of progress in Brazil's preparations for the World Cup in 2014.

The head of the governing body for world football has been highly critical of the speed of progress in South America, with the construction of stadiums, transport infrastructure and hotels running behind schedule.
 The 76-year-old's comments come just weeks after Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke was criticised for stating that Brazil needed a "kick up the backside" to get everything ready on time.

On Thursday, Brazil's lower house passed the much-anticipated World Cup bill, but Blatter admitted that he has grown tired of the saga.

"At least the World Cup bill has been passed," Blatter is quoted by Globoesporte as saying.

"Now it is up to them. We want actions - not just more words."

Meanwhile, Valcke admitted that fans and members of the press may have to seek accommodation in cities close to where the matches will be held if hotel demands exceed the limits.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fifa wants Teixeira replaced 'immediately'

Ricardo Teixeira. Photo By Reuters Image
Ricardo Teixeira must be replaced "immediately" on the Fifa executive committee by the South American confederation, football's world governing body said on Tuesday.
Teixeira resigned his Fifa seat for "personal reasons" without elaborating on Monday, one week after leaving as president of Brazil's football body and the 2014 World Cup organising committee, citing unspecified health problems.
Fifa said its statutes require the South American body, known as CONMEBOL, to move quickly.
"CONMEBOL will now have to decide immediately on the replacement of Ricardo Teixeira as one of their representatives on the Fifa executive committee for the remaining period of office," Fifa said in a statement.
Fifa's 24-member ruling panel chaired by president Sepp Blatter meets next week in Zurich, though the embattled Teixeira was not expected to attend.
Blatter's promised anti-corruption reforms are set to be high on the agenda, as the committee is due to receive a report from a panel of experts advising Fifa how to be more democratic, transparent and rigorous in its investigations.
The 64-year-old Teixeira skipped the previous meeting of Fifa's high command, held in Tokyo in December, when Blatter had hoped to publish a Swiss court document relating to a scandal involving million-dollar kickbacks from World Cup broadcasting deals in the 1990s.
Teixeira is widely reported to be implicated in the scandal, but publication of the dossier was delayed because of a legal process brought by unidentified parties before Switzerland's supreme court.
Teixeira had two years left in the elected post he held since 1994 representing the 10 South American football nations at Fifa.
CONMEBOL has three Fifa seats and traditionally elects one member from each of Brazil and Argentina.
It could send an interim replacement to Zurich for the March 29-30 session, until an election can be held.
Fifa's executive committee already has one interim member and a vacant seat.
Asia has sent Chinese official Zhang Jilong in place of its confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam, who was banned for life by Fifa in an election bribery scandal last year.
Bin Hammam can't be formally replaced until his appeal challenging the ban is decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The Qatari official will face Fifa in the Lausanne, Switzerland, court on April 18-19.
Fifa is also without a Caribbean delegate, as the CONCACAF confederation has not replaced disgraced former president Jack Warner who resigned all of his football duties last June to avoid investigation alongside Bin Hammam in the bribery scandal.
CONCACAF's 35 member countries are scheduled to elect a new president on May 23 in Budapest, ahead of the Fifa Congress in the Hungarian capital. The deadline for candidate nominations is Sunday.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Jerome Valcke suspended as FIFA's World Cup 2014 liaison to Brazil


FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke was suspended as 2014 World Cup liaison to Brazil after angering the country with his comments about its lack of preparation for the event, leaving FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter to pick up the pieces with President Dilma Rousseff and Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo.

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke was suspended as 2014 World Cup liaison to Brazil after angering the country with his comments about their lack of preparation for the event, reported Brazilian news site G1. FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter was left to pick up the pieces with President Dilma Rousseff and sports minister Aldo Rebelo when he visited both government officials today for a dinner welcoming him to the South American country. 

Valcke was suspended indefinitely from his post in Brazil, but still works for FIFA, Reuters Brasil reported. Blatter said Rousseff guaranteed Brazil would meet all the commitments it made to FIFA under her predecessor, Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva. 

"We came to the conclusion that we will work together hand in hand and we will be present the most extraordinary World Cup ever organized," Blatter said after a nearly two hour meeting with Rousseff, according to Agence France Presse. Rousseff added that she has "full confidence in Brazil's ability to organize this Cup." 

FIFA had expressed concern over delays by Brazilian Congress to approve a World Cup bill to regulate the international event and give FIFA financial and legal guarantees needed to organize the tournament, reported The Washington Post. The stumbling block in the bill is the sale of alcohol inside soccer stadiums, which is against Brazilian law. FIFA is demanding a change because Budweiser is a major World Cup sponsor, but the decision can only be made by Brazil's Congress.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Blatter 'very pleased' after World Cup 2014 meeting with Brazilian president


'Tensions between the game's governing body and the host nation had become strained after Jerome Valcke had claimed that the tournament organisers needed 'a kick up the backside'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has described himself as "very pleased" with the outcome of Friday's meeting with his Brazil counterpart Dilma Rousseff over the country's preparations for the 2014 World Cup.

There have been claims that construction work on the selected tournament stadia was behind schedule and that planned infrastructural improvements within the host cities might not be completed in time for the big kick-off.

Those reports led to Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke claiming that the organisers needed "a kick up the backside", but Blatter is in no doubt that the World Cup is in good hands after sitting down with President Rousseff in Brasilia.

"The idea now is the federal government works together with Fifa to strengthen these ties and that it is best not to wait so long for the next meeting, since the last meeting we had with President Dilma was last year.

"President Dilma stated that all of the necessary guarantees for the World Cup will be delivered to Fifa. We were very pleased with the outcome of the meeting."

Brazil last staged football's biggest event back in 1950.

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