ZURICH/RIO DE JANEIRO: Jerome Valcke has insisted that sensationalist headlines about Brazilian opposition to the World Cup are not a true portrayal of public opinion writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Valcke, in his role as secretary-general of FIFA is also the world federation’s overseer of preparations progress. He is returning to Brazil today from FIFA hedquarters in Zurich and will not be leaving until after the Final in July.
Before flying out Valcke put his latest positive spin on the public mood from the popularity of the World Cup Trophy Tour.
Valcke said: “Headlines are screaming that Brazilians don’t want the World Cup. This is not reflected in public opinion polls nor by what we have witnessed on the ground in Brazil during the on-going FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour.
“Some 300,000 people have so far stood in line to gain a glimpse of football’s most coveted prize during its tour of Brazil’s 27 states, which will continue until June 1. Surely that shows a groundswell of support for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.”
Valcke also pointed to the record 11m-plus ticket requests and an international poll by Sponsorship Intelligence claiming that overall 75pc of responders felt positive about the World Cup with 57pc in Brazil “very excited about the event.”
Over the next week Valcke will be visiting all the 12 venues along with Vice-Sports Minister Luis Fernandes and the Local Organising Committee’s ceo Ricardo Trade.
He noted that, over the weekend, the remaining venues staged their test events, including the Arena de Sao Paulo, which will stage the Opening Match between Brazil and Croatia.
From Wednesday, the stadia will be officially ‘handed over’ to FIFA control. Then Australia will be the first of the 31 qualifiers to land in Brazil.