KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Jerome Valcke has clarified comments about his attitude to democratic government after comments about World Cup organisation were misinterpreted in Brazil.
Valcke, secretary-general of FIFA and the world federation’s progress-chaser for next year’s World Cup, had spoken out while introducing a symposium about the competition’s history at the Home of Football in Zurich.
No secret exists about the impatience within FIFA at the dilatory manner in which the Brazilians approached the organisation of both the World Cup and the Confederations Cup rehearsal in the second fortnight of June. Valcke had even, once, suggested that the Brazilians needed “a kick up the backside.”
Yesterday, not for the first time, Valcke had noted that a complication for FIFA’s own World Cup organisation was coming to grips with the very different arrangement of red tape within each succeeding new host country.
Head of state
Conceding that his comments might appear bizarre, he had said: “Less democracy is sometimes better for organising a World Cup. When you have a very strong head of state who can decide, as maybe Putin can do in 2018 [in Russia] . . . that is easier for us organisers than a country such as Germany. . . where you have to negotiate at different levels.
“The main fight we have (is) when we enter a country where the political structure is divided, as it is in Brazil, into three levels, the federal level, the state level and the city level. [There are] different people, different movements, different interests and it’s quite difficult to organise a World Cup in such conditions.”
Given Brazilian sensitivities, Valcke’s illustrative comments raised hackles back in Brasilia and today he clarified his comments.
On his Twitter account Valcke said: “I am sorry that my comments, taken out of comments, have been misinterpreted . . . anyone who knows me also knows me as a devotee of democracy.”
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