ZURICH: One of the most bizarre events of the World Cup finals was a presentation to the media about FIFA’s development investment in Brazilian football.

This was firmed up today with confirmation of the topping up to $100m of a development fund for the country whose national team has won the World Cup record five times and whose star players rank among some of the greatest of all time.

That Brazil was being treated, almost patronisingly, in the same way as 2010 host South Africa was an embarrassment for some local officials and media platforms.

One of the major concerns will be that FIFA keeps a tight control on the expenditure at a time when Brazil’s top clubs are trying to negotiate with the government of newly-re-elected President Dilma Rousseff a moratorium on their enormous debts.

At least, from FIFA’s point of view, there was a particular public relations plus from the creation of the development fund; one of the major complaints of street protesters, particularly during the Confederations Cup in 2013, was that they perceived FIFA as taking from Brazil and giving next to nothing back.

MoU with CBF

A Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the ‘2014 FIFA World Cup™ Legacy Fund; was signed in Zurich today by secretary-general Jérôme Valcke, Brazilian CBF president José Maria Marin and CBF president-elect Marco Polo Del Nero. Also present was Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo.

CBF leaders landed themselves and FIFA with negative headlines at the World Cup over the luxury watches gifted to senior officials from the world federation and World Cup participating nations to mark the host federation’s centenary.

The legacy fund, according to FIFA, “will be used to promote development in areas such as infrastructure, women’s and grassroots football, healthcare and social programmes for underprivileged communities with a special focus on the 15 states that were not home to Brazil 2014’s Host cities.”

Valcke added: “We are convinced that the legacy fund will be an excellent platform to spread the benefits of the unforgettable World Cup.”

The first project nearing completion is the creation of four pitches (three artificial and one natural grass) next to Belem’s Estadio Olímpico do Para stadium. Belem was the Amazonian city which lost out, controversially, to Manaus in securing World Cup host status.

FIFA’s statement, in seeking to clarify control of the funds, added: “While funding, monitoring and control will be the responsibility of FIFA, project proposals and implementation will be the responsibility of CBF based on specific plans submitted to and approved by FIFA . . . . As per the relevant FIFA regulations.

“All funds provided by FIFA under the project will be subject to an annual central audit by KPMG.”

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