Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke has voiced concerns that Brazil’s 2014 World Cup preparations have fallen behind schedule, including reports that a new stadium in Sao Paolo will not be ready for the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Brazilian football legend Romario, who is now a member of Brazil’s Congress, has also joined the criticism, saying “only Jesus” could save his country.
Romario said: “From what I’m seeing, things aren’t going to happen. We’ll have the Cup but sadly we’ll have problems and it won’t be the best. The gospels say Jesus will return. Only he can ensure Brazil stage the best cup.”
Meanwhile Valcke said the airports and transport links are behind schedule.
He said: “I won’t say Brazil started too late but we are not advanced in Brazil. We don’t have stadiums, airports, or a national transportation system.”
“To deliver stadiums is the most important part… it’s a lot of work. The Sao Paulo stadium is definitely not a World Cup stadium and that is why it is closed,” Valcke said.
Valcke was addressing Russian officials in Moscow who will host the 2018 World Cup tournament, and informed them they should aim to have everything in place two years before the start of the event.
But the organisers have hit back, saying Valcke had “exaggerated” some of the problems.
Rodrigo Prada, director of internet site copa2014.org.br, said that whilst there were problems they were not as serious as Valcke had claimed.
“Valcke is both right and wrong,” Prada told AFP.
“One cannot deny that there are delays on the building of the infrastructure, but one has to be more objective in ones analysis.
“The biggest problem is that the stadia are in the process of laying their foundations.
“It is difficult to explain to people that a stadium is in the process of being built when they see nothing. His analysis is biased.”
Prada conceded that there was no denying that work had started late, but added that part of the blame lay with FIFA.
“Brazil was chosen as hosts in 2007, and the whole package of work and investment was only put together in February this year.
“That delayed the works.”
“However, FIFA have no-one in place to follow the pace of the work. So we don’t know on what basis Valcke based his comments on.”
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