RIO DE JANEIRO: Ricardo Teixeira, of all people, has stepped into the escalating row between FIFA and the Brazilian government and sought to allay concerns about the country’s preparations for th 2014 World Cup finals.

On Friday FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke said Brazil needed a “kick up the backside” in terms of both infrastructure and parliamentary process; Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo responded by demanding that FIFA remove Valcke as its World Cup point man.

Teixeira, handed a vote of confidence earlier in the week by the 27 federal football associations, remains chairman of the local World Cup organising committee amid a firestorm of allegations about his commercial and financial affairs.

He said: “FIFA’s concerns in relation to the preparation of all aspects of the  World Cup are natural and legitimate but it  can be assured that Brazil and its people have the competence and commitment to organize a World Cup both impeccably and unforgettably . . . discussions should be broad and always take into account the interests of the people in a democratic process.

“Brazil does not have an owner, is a solid democracy and recognized worldwide. The country and the three powers must always be respected.”