KEIR RADNEDGE in BELO HORIZONTE: In a move which will be linked, inevitably, with security concerns FIFA president Sepp Blatter has had to cancel plans to open this week’s Football for Hope Forum in Belo Horizonte.
Blatter was due to fly in for the opening ceremony on Wednesday morning and then go on to the Brazilv Uruguay Confederations Cup semi-final in the afternoon.
However the original city hall venue has been changed and the opening ceremony has been cancelled. Hence Blatter, on arriving in the capital of Minas Gerais, will go direct to the match instead.
The three-day forum, involving various presentations, discussions and workshops, runs from Wednesday until Friday.
A FIFA spokesman said: “Following discussions with the host city it was agreed to move the Football for Hope Forum from the city hall to another venue and consequently due to space restrictions in the new location to cancel the opening ceremony.
“The main reason for the move was to reduce the requirements for the local security authorities who are very busy with the current activities in the city and the semi-final match.”
More than 60,000 World Cup protesters came out on to the streets of Belo Horizonte last Saturday. A peaceful march on the Mineirao stadium was repulsed by military police with the use of tear gas, water cannon and mounted detachments.