BRASILIA: Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo has made it clear that Ricardo Teixeira will be staying around as the supreme commander of the country’s football on the contentious road towards its hosting of the 2014 World Cup finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Rebelo, friend turned critic and now ally again of Teixeira, has sought to end speculation about the future of the president of the Brazilian football confederation who is also the power behind the World Cup local organising authority.

The Sports Minister was answering questions in a YouTube question-and-answer session about preparations for the World Cup. Brazil has come under fire from FIFA president Sepp Blatter, secretary-general Jerome Valcke and a number of local politicians for the lack of urgency.

Rebelo, challenged about the role of Teixeira who has been under pressure over various administrative, commercial and financial controversies, said: “My own role as a Minister is to try to maintain a spirit of co-operation because the government, FIFA, the CBF, event organisers and sponsors have a common goal: to hold a successful World Cup in Brazil.

“It’s true that Teixeira chairs the two entities, the CBF and COL. But we have to work independently because, while FIFA and COL are private entities with a direct relationship with sponsors, the Sports Ministry is public.

“So where there is harmony, we will work in harmony. Where we have differences we will seek to find a compromise.”

On the issue of redeveloping the country’s airports, Rebelo insisted that all the work and expenditure being commissioned was not only for the World Cup – as critics have complained – but also to answer the growing tourist demand created by events such as Carnival in Rio and even the Gay Parade.

He said: “Only a little work has started by now but everything will soon be under way. This is important for the country. It’s about the legacy of events such as the World Cup.”

Rebelo denied that favelas had been cleared without any consideration for the families displaced by the need to build new stadia and roads. He said: “The claims that some authorities have used what have been descriebd as ‘Nazis tactics’ is misplaced and unfortunate. I do not believe our public authorities have acted that way.”

On the issue of the sale of alcohol in World Cup stadua, Rebelo said that Brazil intended to follow the model of legislation in the United States and Europe which allowed the alcohol sale in controlled areas.