SAO PAULO (AFP) – Brazilian legend Pele has revealed he is saddened by the delays in his homeland surrounding preparations for the World Cup.
“It is sad as this was an opportunity for Brazil not just in terms of football,” said Pele.
“The Confederations Cup, the world Cup and the Olympics were an opportunity to attract tourists and bring in revenue.
“But unfortunately we are a bit behind the pump,” Pele said in an interview published Thursday in O Estado de Sao Paulo daily.
“I am sad because before winning the right to host the World Cup we spent four years making visits. I was one of those who went to various places in Africa, Asia, Europe seeking votes for Brazil to win hosting rights,” said Pele.
“It is difficult to say why this is happening because we had time,” said Pele, alluding to delays in stadium construction.
His criticism follows on from similar observations made recently by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who said Brazil should have started preparations much earlier.
FIFA set a December 31 deadline for all 12 venues to be ready but had to scrap the date with half still not finished after fatal accidents at three stadiums and various other delays.