BRASILIA: Ricardo Teixeira is expected by FIFA to cut short his ‘health break’ to return on Thursday to 2014 World Cup duty to chair a meeting with organising representatives and politicians.
Jerome Valcke, the world federation’s secretary-general, has said so during visits to the north-eastern cities of Fortaleza and Salvador de Bahia in the first of his six scheduled visits to Brazil this year to check out the country’s muddled preparations for the finals.
Teixeira, under-pressure of the Brazilian football confederation and a FIFA vice-president, apparently stepped down last month as organising authority president. However, quite how far down he has stepped remains open to speculation.
Ronaldo, the former World Cup-winning striker, is Teixeira’s official successor as COL president but is expected to play only a supporting role in the meeting after having accompanied Valcke in Brazil over the last two days. Also present on the Frenchman’s tour has been Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo.
Teixeira indicated in mid-December that he intended taking a break, on health grounds, until the end of January. He has had the threat of a fraud squad inquiry into money-laundering allegations lifted but remains the centre of accusations over FIFA’S ISL payments scandal.
Reports from Zug in Switzerland say Teixeira is set to challenge FIFA plans to throw open the ISL case file on illicit payments. If such reports are confirmed, they will serveonly to confirm that Teixeira believes he has something significant to hide.
Meanwhile Valcke has calledonce more for an end to delays in parliamentary approval of the ‘World Cup law’ which will give the organisation legal authority to run the event in Brazil.
He said: “It is time you gave birth to this law. We have waited nine months now it is time to produce.”
Valcke said he hoped to resolve final differences over ticket prices at Thursday’s meeting in Rio de Janeiro which he expects Teixeira to chair.
He added: “The World Cup is not just a law, the World Cup is 12 cities, 12 stadiums, 12 airports. Let’s move on.”
Last week the Brazilian government released a report which claimed that seven of the 12 stadia being built would be ready by the end of 2012 and well in time for the 2013 Confederations Cup, a dress rehearsal for the World Cup itself.
Renovation of Rio’s Maracana stadium, where the World Cup Final will be played, is not due to be completed until February 2013. The new Itaquera stadium in Sao Paulo, which will host the Opening Match in 2014, will not be ready until December, 2013.