FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said that the governing body "has not contemplated an alternative stage" for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. Valcke: "The World Cup will be played in Brazil in 12 cities. There is no plan B." His comments came as the Confederations Cup "has been played against the backdrop of nationwide protests." Valcke also "rejected a suggestion" from Brazil Sports Minster Aldo Rebelo, sitting next to him at a news conference, that other countries "had expressed an interest in staging the World Cup if Brazil pulled out" (REUTERS, 6/24). In a separate piece, Homewood reported FIFA and the Brazilian government "dismissed suggestions on Monday that next year's World Cup will be staged at the cost of health and education as they hit back at criticism at the cost of the event." Rebelo said, "None of the money earmarked for health and education has been diverted to the building of World Cup stadiums." Valcke said, "FIFA is not making 4 billion reais ($1.7B) to run away in a big Mercedes Benz. We are using our money to develop football and we are one of the most transparent sporting organisations in the world" (REUTERS, 6/24).
FACE OF THE PROTEST: In N.Y., Gabriele Marcotti reported 10 minutes into Saturday's Confederations Cup match between Mexico and Japan, a shirtless young man "unfolded a large sheet of paper and held it a few inches from the noses of the closest journalists." It read, "More education. More transportation. More health care. Less FIFA stadiums." Security "gave him a good five minutes to make his case before gently escorting him not to a police van, but back to his seat." It encapsulated the nature of much of the protests "that have engulfed Brazil over the past week." They "are largely middle-class." Indigent people do not "buy tickets in the nicer parts of Confederations Cup stadiums." They "are peaceful." Especially in front of a phalanx of journalists, "they are met with gentle policing." Elsewhere, at times, "it has been a different issue." The handmade sign summed up just why "well over a million Brazilians have taken to the streets." The economy -- which was growing rapidly in Oct. '07, when the country secured the right to host the 2014 World Cup, and booming two years later, when Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Olympics -- "has now slowed down, while the bill for the massive spending on infrastructure and venues continues rise" (WSJ, 6/23).
SEEKING DIPLOMACY: BLOOMBERG's Goodman & Collitt wrote Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff will meet with protestors, mayors and governors "to discuss measures in response to a two-week-long street clamor for improved transport and public services and against corruption." Rousseff "will receive leaders of the Free Fare Movement" and state and city authorities (BLOOMBERG, 6/24).