ZURICH: FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke has sent a formal apology to the Brazilian government for the manner of his latest criticism of the country’s political and infrastructural delays writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Valcke, irritated and impatient after months of polite diplomacy appeared to making no impression on the delay-dogged 2014 organisers, said on Friday that what they needed was a “kick up the backside.”

Indignant Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo responded with a letter to FIFA president Sepp Blatter saying his country no longer wished to deal with the Frenchman who is heading to Brazil for his third progress-chasing inspection visit of the year next Monday.

Valcke has sent a ‘sorry’ note, saying that the tone of his comment had been not so much lost in translation as exacerbated in translation French to Portuguese. However, Valcke took advantage of the exchange to express an “air of worry at FIFA” about the slow progress of tournament preparations.

Brazilian commentator Juca Kfouri has suggested that this row, and the level of concern it revealed within FIFA about preparations, could mark “the beginning of the end for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.”

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