BERLIN: Presidents Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Sepp Blatter of world federation FIFA will not be making any long speeches at the Opening Ceremony of the World Cup finals in June writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
That way they will not run the risk of the sound of boos and jeers being broadcast around the world by television and radio.
Rousseff was jeered at the opening of the Confederations Cup in Brazil last year – and that was before the anti-World Cup protests had begun in ernest. She stayed away from the final in Rio de Janeiro altogether.
Blatter was cheered at the opening of the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa but the cheers turned to jeers during the finals as increasing controversy was aroused by reports of the likely surplus FIFA would generate from the tournament.
Four years earlier, at the end of the 2006 Final in Berlin, chaotic scenes ensured when no FIFA official at all went down to the pitch to the present the World Cup trophy to winners Italy. Eventually organising committee president Lennart Johansson was thrust forward.
Hence Blatter and Rousseff will cut back on antagonistic reaction in Brazil. Blatter said: “We will make the opening ceremony so that there are no speeches.”
Blatter said he would remain in Brazil throughout the tournament, unlike the Confederations Cup when his mid-event absence provoked critical comment.
On other issues Blatter said he expected Brazil to be ready on time – despite all the delays – and that European teams would find the host nation hard to beat. Looking ahead Blatter indicated that World Cup awards – starting with the 2026 finals – would consider human rights issues.