RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – The president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, Ricardo Teixeira, insists the Latin American country will deliver an “impeccable” World Cup in 2014 despite criticism from FIFA that organisational progress is slow.
“FIFA concerns with regard to preparation of all World Cups are natural and legitimate,” said Teixeira.
“But the body can keep calm because Brazil and its people have the competence and seriousness required to organise an impeccable and unforgettable World Cup,” Teixeira said in a posting to the federation website overnight Saturday.
Teixeira’s comments came amid a deepening row between FIFA and the Brazilian government after FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke opined Friday that the organisers needed a “kick up the backside” to ensure that preperations were completed on time for Brazil’s first World Cup in 64 years.
Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo reacted angrily Saturday to Valcke’s trenchant comments, saying the country would boycott Valcke as a spokesman over his criticisms.
“The government will no longer accept the secretary general as FIFA spokesman,” Rebelo said in deriding Valcke’s comments as “impertinent,” “inappropriate” and “offensive”.
And Rebelo said that if Valcke goes ahead with plans to visit Brazil on March 12 he will not be received.
Valcke responded by dubbing Rebelo’s reaction “a bit puerile.”
“I will go to Brazil on March 12,” Valcke confirmed.
FIFA have for months expressed varying degrees of concern over the extent to which preparations are on track for the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950.
But Frenchman Valcke pulled no punches on Friday in saying progress was much too slow.
“I don’t understand why things are not moving. The stadiums are not on schedule any more and why are a lot of things late?” he asked.
“I am sorry to say but things are not working in Brazil,” he added.
“You have to push yourself, kick your arse and just deliver this World Cup and that is what we will do.”