SAO PAULO: Sepp Blatter has insisted that the Confederations Cup, which Brazil hosts 12 months ahead of the 2014 World Cup, is a tournament worthy of status in its own right and not ‘merely’ a warm-up for the main event writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The FIFA president  was speaking during a round-table with Brazilian journalists ahead of Saturday’s draw for the Confed Cup.

How important is the FIFA World Cup™

The FIFA World Cup is more than just a sporting event, it’s the event every four years. There is no sport event that can be compared to the World Cup in regards to the international audience. This event has a history, where Brazil has played a very important part. They won it five times, now they host it. In my personal opinion, it will be a great World Cup.

What about the participating teams for the FIFA Confederations Cup?

It’s like a present to have such a selection of great names for this competition.

This is more than just a rehearsal for the World Cup, it is a rendezvous for champions. We have 12 World Cup stars: that means Brazil won five World Cups, Italy four, Uruguay two and Spain one. There is high quality here. It’s a Confederations Cup of champions, a high-level competition in its own right.

And the infrastructure?

I’m sure everything will be ready, it’s not the first time that I’ve been involved in the organization of a FIFA World Cup. There have always been problems here and there, but in the end, we had a great event.

How do you view Ronaldo’s role in the LOC and his possible candidature for the CBF presidency?

I’m always happy when former footballers are taking time and energy to work for football. It’s great for him as it’s added value to his life, to be involved in the organization. It would look good if former footballers were be at the head of the big entities, if they bring along the necessary experience. With the experience he is getting through this World Cup, he is on a good track.

It’s like a present to have such a selection of great names for this competition. The Confed Cup is not only a rehearsal for the World Cup, it’s a high level competition.

What about the image of FIFA and the changes made after the Congress 2011?

We are in a reform process, which we started in 2011. We shall have a better transparency and have started to implement the decisions taken. The only one we still have to implement is the change of statutes. The whole football family is supporting it and we are on a good track.

This Ethics Committee should be on all levels, it needs to go down to all the 209 national associations, then football can deal with matters even outside the field of play. Discipline, respect and fairplay must not only be applied just on the field of play but also off it.

Is it essential for Neymar to play in Europe to ever be chosen among the top three for the FIFA World Player/Ballon d’Or?

The actuality of football is in the big European leagues, you have a concentration of stars. If you look at the nominees, this proves to be fact, but is unfortunate for a player like Neymar. Coaches, captains and the media are deciding on the short list, it’s not easy.

What about technology?

We have two accurate Systems available and will use these in this year’s FIFA Club World Cup. If there is no failure, the plan is to use one of the two systems at the Confed Cup next year. We will only use goal-line systems, as we don’t want any other technology items on the field of play, because we would take away the fascination of our game.

Could there ever be another Mondialito (a tournament with the former FIFA World Cup winners)?

It’s true that FIFA played a Mondialito in 1981 with six teams. But the international calender is already overcharged. Players are playing up to 80 matches per year. When do they recover or have holidays? We must be realistic and not add more games or Tournaments. RADNEDGE

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