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SBD Global/January 7, 2014/International Football

FIFA President Sepp Blatter Criticizes Brazil's Preparation As Host Of 2014 World Cup

Sepp Blatter says Brazil started World Cup preparation "much too late."
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that he "cannot remember a World Cup host nation falling as far behind with their preparations as Brazil have," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. Blatter: "Brazil has just found out what it means and has started work much too late. No country has been so far behind in preparations since I have been at FIFA even though it is the only host nation which has had so much time, seven years, in which to prepare." Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, however, "promised her country would stage the 'Cup of Cups.'" Rousseff tweeted, "The demand for tickets, the greatest for any World Cup, shows supporters in the whole world have confidence in Brazil" (REUTERS, 1/6). The PA's Martyn Ziegler reported "work on three stadia in Brazil is likely to go on until the middle of April, just a few weeks before the start of the tournament on June 12." Blatter admitted early in December that there is "no plan B." This "includes the Itaquera Arena in Sao Paulo which will host the opening ceremony and match of the finals between Brazil and Croatia" (PA, 1/6).

BLATTER TRUSTS BRAZIL: BLOOMBERG's Ben Priechenfried reported Brazil is spending $3.4B on "construction of the stadiums for the month-long tournament." Since June, protests "marred the build-up to the competition as demonstrators argued that the public funds would be better spent on education and health services." Blatter said that "even though such protests may continue, he doesn't expect the tournament to be affected." Blatter: "I think the Brazilians won't directly attack football. It's the sport's home. It's a religion" (BLOOMBERG, 1/6). The AP reported Rousseff said, "We love football and because of this we will host the World Cup with pride." Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said that the 12 stadiums "will be ready on time." Rebelo said in an email, "The search for revenue for the event, the biggest of any World Cup, shows that fans throughout the world believe that the 2014 World Cup will be the best of all that have been held" (AP, 1/6).
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