RIO DE JANEIRO: Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary-general and World Cup progress-chaser, has reiterated that there is “No Plan B” and that the 2014 finals will go ahead in Brazil writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Valcke was speaking at a media briefing in Rio against a background of doubt sparked by widespread street confrontations between police and protesters which, according to Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo, had prompted other countries to apply to ‘steal’ the finals away.
FIFA’s World Cup point man said: “The Confederations Cup final will be played in Rio de Janeiro in Maracana next Sunday and the World Cup will be played next year in Brazil in the 12 host cities. We have six delivered and six to come before the end of the year.
“There is no Plan B and I have never received any official offer from any other countries to stage the World Cup in 2014.”
Rebelo said he had read in the media that countries such as the United States, Germany, Japan and China had all expressed an informal interest in taking over the hosting of the World Cup Brazil could not cope.
He assessed the Chinese offer as a means of staking an interest in making a formal World Cup hosting bid at some time in the future.
Rebelo also acknowledged the support Brazil had received from Argentina and Uruguay. He indicated this might be linked with the two neighbours’ wish to garner support for their own 2030 co-hosting bid.
On the wider issue of security, Valcke acknowledged this was always a major issue at big sports events. He was certain that “learning from the Confederations Cup will help with various things at the World Cup and I am sure security is one of them.”
Valcke praised the “amazing” work undertaken by the local construction industry, “sometimes at the last minute,” to ensure that all six Confed Cup stadia had been ready for use at full capacity.
But he also cautioned that the World Cup was a far larger event with the expected influx of foreign fans and media. All 12 stadia had to be ready by the end of December to allow enough time for World Cup service operations to be put in place.