KEIR RADNEDGE in PORT LOUIS: FIFA president Sepp Blatter continues to maintain his insistence that Brazil will be up to the challenge of hosting a grand party of a World Cup next year.
Blatter reiterated his stance after FIFA Congress and despite the Maracana muddle which saw tomorrow’s Brazilv England Reopening banned then approved by the courts in a row over safety and residual rubble.
Having fulfilled all the senior roles at FIFA for the past 38 years Blatter has worked through a string of World Cup preparation crises. These have included, most notably, Spain 1982, Mexico 1986, Italy 1990 and South Africa 2010.
All the tournaments took place on time and with all the stadia and no-one now remembers the angst-filled run-ups, only the football.
Plainly Blatter was drawing on that experience when he said: “I am sure Brazil will be a wonderful World Cup. We will see it when we go to the Confederations Cup this summer and see the architecture of the stadia and the enthusiasm of the public.
“It is also a good test to see if the logistics are working – ticketing, transport, security, and so on.
“In 2014Brazil– this continent – will present to the world an exceptionally good World Cup, I’m sure of it.”
In a scenario familiar to devotees of crime dramas, Blatter plays the good cop to the bad cop act of Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary-general and World Cup progress-chaser.
Valcke is allowed to express his frustrations. His “kick up the backside” comment 16 months ago was resented inBrazilbut stirred them into action (though Valcke has refrained, diplomatically, from taking the credit).
Lately he has also talked threateningly of cutting host cities which do not hit their constantly revised deadlines.