'Things are not working in Brazil'

Brazil government refuses to work with FIFA's Jerome Valcke after he says organisers need 'a kick up the backside'.

    Valcke believes Brazil should concentrate on infrastructure and not winning tournament [GALLO/GETTY] 

    Brazil's government announced on Saturday they will refuse to deal with FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke following his "unacceptable" criticism over the country's preparations for the 2014 World Cup.

    Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo called for FIFA to assign another official to work with the government. Valcke responded by calling the move "puerile".

    Ahead of a visit to Brazil in a week, Valcke sparked the exchange by sending a blunt message to organisers on Friday: "You have to push yourself, kick your (backside).

    Valcke, who has continually raised concerns about the tournament, said time was running out and there was no "Plan B" in place.

    "We can't accept to hear such an offensive comment. He (Valcke) can't say something like that about a country. It's

    Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo

    However, Rebelo hit back, telling reporters in Brazil that his priority was for native Indians and low-income families to be able to go to matches, while FIFA wanted to make a profit.

    Rebelo said the government would not accept the criticism from FIFA's top administrator.

    "We have always had a cordial attitude toward everyone from FIFA here in Brazil,'' Rebelo said.

    "We can't accept to hear such an offensive comment. He (Valcke) can't say something like that about a country. It's

    Soccer's ruling body is particularly concerned about transport and accommodation issues and the sluggish movement
    through Brazilian bureaucracy of World Cup laws relating to the sale of alcohol is also worrying FIFA.

    "I don't understand why things are not moving," Valcke told reporters.

    "The stadiums are not on schedule any longer - and why are a lot of things late?

    "The concern is nothing is made or prepared to receive so many people. I am sorry to say but things are not working in Brazil. 

    'Not enough hotels'

    Brazil was awarded the World Cup in 2007 although the decision had been on the cards since 2003 when the other nine South American federations agreed to support the country as their only candidate.

    That decision was taken after the tournament had been ear-marked for South America under FIFA's short-lived
    rotation system.

    Valcke said the tournament would go ahead but warned the fans could suffer.

    "There are not enough hotels," he said.

    "You have more than enough in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro but if you think about Manaus you need more.

    "Let's say in Salvador you have England v Holland and you have 12 percent of the stadium with English fans and 12 percent Dutch - that's 24 percent of 60,000 fans. Where are they all going to stay?

    "... nothing is made or prepared to receive so many people because the world wants to go to Brazil"

    Jerome Valcke

    "The city is nice but the way to get to the stadium and all the organisation of transportation has to be improved."

    Valcke also said it appeared Brazil were more concerned with winning the World Cup than organising a good tournament.

    "Our concern is nothing is made or prepared to receive so many people because the world wants to go to Brazil," he said.

    "That's the big difference between South Africa in 2010 and Brazil. The people don't care about security, they don't care about the weather - it's amazing.

    "In South Africa it was winter, it was dark. In Brazil the weather will be perfect. But I can tell you from the other side of the organisation it is not exactly that."

    On his last trip to the country in January, Valcke repeated his previous call for a quick resolution to the issue of World Cup laws.

    FIFA expressed concern over alcohol-selling laws in stadiums and demands for lower ticket prices for students and pensioners.

    Now it seems, the organisation's concerns are more acute.

    "We have just over a year before the Confederations Cup and two years before the World Cup," said Valcke.

    "South Africa's priorities were to organise the World Cup not win it. It seems all Brazil wants to do is win it, and that
    must change."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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