ZURICH: While FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke fretted over the on-site practical challenges of the World Cup host nation, so only diplomatic pleasantries were apparently being exchanged by the presidents of Brazil and FIFA back in Zurich.
Dilma Rousseff was welcomed to the headquarters of the world federation by its own leader, Sepp Blatter, and assured him that everything would be ready in time for the Opening Match in Sao Paulo in June.
This followed comments from Valcke, earlier this week in Brazil, that the Curitiba stadium was in danger of being cut from the schedule.
Rousseff and Blatter, according to FIFA, “discussed the importance of the FIFA World Cup™ legacy, the various social campaigns that will be implemented, including anti-discrimination and peace promotion, and the extent to which the event will serve as a catalyst to promote development in a variety of areas, such as women’s football.”
In a joint media statement Rousseff said: “We are prepared to organise the World Cup of World Cups and use the power of football to tackle key matters and leave an important social legacy.”
Blatter added: “It was both a great honour and a pleasure to welcome the Brazilian President to the Home of FIFA. Brazil is the country of football and thanks to the great support and commitment from President Rousseff and the Brazilian people, they will organise a fantastic World Cup for the whole world that will leave a lasting legacy.”
The critical comments made by Blatter recently about the slow nature of Brazil’s preparations have been seen as a pre-emptive attempt by FIFA to distance itself from the organisers in case events on the ground go wrong during the finals.
Rousseff visited FIFA after meeting IOC president Thomas Bach in Brazil to try to allay the German’s concerns about preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.