BRASILIA: FIFA president emerged from his emergency World Cup summit meeting with Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff proclaiming ‘peace in our time’ after the war of words over preparation delays ahead of the 2014 finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The essential legislation has still not been approved by congress and work is badly behind on redeveloping stadia and airports. That prompted the “kick up the backside” storm provoked by comments from FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke.
After that incident Blatter requested a face-to-face meeting with President Rousseff who has appeared to have back-tracked on a number of key guarantees provided to FIFA in the host award process by her predecessor Lula da Silva.
After the meeting Blatter said: “The President said we should not have any doubts that the Brzailian government will implement all the guarantees which were given to FIFA . . . and I trust in the words of the President.”
Key issues concern overturning a law barring the sale of alcohol in stadia – Budweiser is one of FIFA’s major World Cup sponsors – and the ticket pricing policy in a country where students, pensioners and the handicapped have the right to half-price entry at major events.
Congressmen are still wrangling over the text of the proposed World Cup Law as far as alcohol sales are concerned.
Blatter denied that FIFA had put England on standby as a Plan B in case the deadlock with Brazil continued. He said: “This will be a very important event for Brazil. England in the country which invented football but Brazil is the land of football.”
As for Valcke’s comments, which had provoked a furious reaction among Brazilian politicians and football officials, Blatter said this was “an internal matter” for FIFA.
The summit was also attended by Brazilian 2014 ambassador Pele, Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and local organising board meeting Ronaldo.
Rousseff made no statement to the media after the summit.
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