ZURICH: Jerome Valcke has ticked off the Brazilian media for suggesting that “FIFA is only interested in the stadia” rather than the holistic preparatory work writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The world football federation’s secretary-general insisted that its concerns for the country stretched far beyond the narrow issue of the precise match venues for the finals next June and July.

He said: “Without the stadia we would not be able to stage the tournament and, as such, it is naturally important for us they are finalised on time. But a competition on of the scale of a FIFA World Cup could not be organised with a stadium alone.

“To guarantee that fans, teams and media have a great experience requires public transport, airports and accommodation.

“For FIFA, it is also important to ensure that the impacts of the staging of a major event on the environment are minimised, and that the socio-economic benefits are maximised.”

Operational report

He added: “On the operational side we are heading in the right directions, not only for the FIFA World Cup itself but also with a view beyond 2014.”

Valcke’s decision to take up the theme of the holistic value of the World Cup theme is doubtless deliberate to seek, as far as possible, to defuse the anger which erupted on the streets during the Confederation Cup in June.

During the World Cup warm-up event millions came out in protest at the amounts being spent World Cup work when so much needed to be financed in the areas of social welfare.

Valcke talked up effort to minimise the World Cup’s carbon footprint and improve the sustainability of the World Cup arenas.

He has recently returned to Zurich after a site visit to Curitiba, Sao Paulo and Manaus during which he was ‘escorted’ by Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and organising committee members Ronaldo and Bebeto.

One minor issue of concern at this early stage for both FIFA and the Brazilian tourist authorities is that only 18pc of the 3.6m ticket applications have come from outside Brazil.

Valcke noted: “That will surely change once more teams secure their slot for Brazil.”