RIO DE JANEIRO: Ricardo Teixeira came back early from his ‘leave of absence’ to play a central role in a major meeting intended to resolve a string of issues ahead of the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
Teixeira, under pressure over his financial affairs and involvement in the ISL scandal, was supposed to have stepped aside from his FIFA vice-presidency as well as his presidency of the Brazilian confederation and leadership of the Local Organising Committee for the World Cup.
However, Teixeira opened the meeting at the Zona Oeste hotel in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday between COL, FIFA and politicians including Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo who accompanied FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke to Fortaleza and Salvador earlier this week.
The entire LOC management board included apparent president-elect Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima while others present was the Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Ministry of Sport, Luis Fernandes, who is also in charge of matters relating to the World Cup, and the Acting President of the CBF Jose Maria Marin.
A FIFA statement said: “All were later agreed that it had been a highly productive get-together, one that once again underlined the complete understanding between the main stakeholders involved in the organisation of the tournament.”
Speaking afterwards, Valcke stressed the significance of the Minister of Sport’s presence at the meeting, saying: “It was a very good meeting, an excellent way to start 2012, which is a key year in the organisation of the FIFA World Cup. It was very important to have the minister here, and I’d like to point out once again that relations between FIFA and the federal government have always been excellent. I’m very pleased that we’re walking side by side with them and in the right direction.”
Rebelo responded: “The federal government is firmly committed to completing this process [of the World Cup Law], possibly as early as March, and has the decisive support of the speaker and the National Congress.”
Both FIFA and the LOC’s inspectors, said the world federation, “expressed their satisfaction at the progress of the stadium construction projects, which are largely on schedule, and praised the high standards of Brazil civil engineering industry.”
In other matters Sao Paulo was confirmed as the host city for the FIFA Confederations Cup draw in December; March was set as the deadline for announcing the 2014 slogan; and various venues were discussed as possible FIFA headquarters during the World Cup.