BRASILIA: Pele, effectively barred from Brazil’s 2014 World Cup organisation by disgraced Ricardo Teixeira, will attend the summit meeting between state President Dilma Rousseff and FIFA leader Sepp Blatter writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The former three-times World Cup-winner has been a notable absentee from all three meetings in Zurich of FIFA’s Football Task Force 2014 but it is expected that he will attend on home ground at the Palácio do Planalto in Brasilia tomorrow.
Blatter, who has always wanted to involve the game’s star names in its advisory bodies, said: “I am very pleased that the legendary Pelé will join us for this important meeting where we will discuss the status of preparations and what needs to be done over the next few months to achieve the common goal of FIFA and the Brazilian government to stage a great FIFA Confederations Cup in June 2013 and a successful 2014 FIFA World Cup.”
The summit was agreed at a request from Blatter after relations between FIFA and the Brazilian government reached a new low after the frustrated outburst from secretary-general Jerome Valcke that the local organisers needed a “kick up the backside” over the delays in implementing infrastructural change and in approving the essential legislation.
Teixeira, long-time supremo of Brazilian football, blamed ill health for his decision earlier this week to resign as president of both the Brazilian football confederation (CBF) and local World Cup organising authority (COL). His modus operandi in various commercial and financial fields had come under increasing pressure and scrutiny over the past 18 months, notably over the long-running ISL affair and more recently over the accounting for a friendly match between Brazil and Portugal in Brasilia in 2008.
Pele had been excluded from the local World Cup operation by Teixeira in the latest chapter of a personal stand-off which goes back to 1993. Then Pele was excluded from the ceremonials at the Las Vegas draw for the subsequent World Cup after a war of words with Teixeira over Brazilian domestic TV rights.
The World Cup ceremony connection was that FIFA’s president was Joao Havelange . . . then Teixeira’s father-in-law.
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