Blatter to take control of 2014 World Cup preparations
Tokyo (Kyodo): FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that he will take the matter of the 2014 World Cup into his own hands, with preparations for the tournament in Brazil stalling.
"I will take this World Cup on a presidential level, and in the first months of the year, I will go visit the head of state," Blatter told reporters on Saturday after the FIFA executive committee met for the last time this year.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke filed a report on the level of preparations in Brazil, which will host the World Cup for a second time and its first since 1950.
Last month, Valcke expressed concern over the progress in Brazil, in particular a special bill for the World Cup that has yet to be passed.
The legislation would address everything from ticket prices to sales of merchandise and alcohol, and would override existing local laws.
The bill, however, has been met with backlash from the Brazilian public, including lawmaker and former soccer great Romario. Valcke is pinning his hopes on the country`s new sports minister Aldo Rebelo to really set the wheels in motion.
"Clearly, we are concerned that we have not yet received the confirmation of the general World Cup bill," Valcke said.
The meeting next week at the Parliament level, we have been told, should approve the World Cup bill which was negotiated since 2007 with the Brazilian government.
"With this exception, Brazil is clearly not in advance of the preparation of the World Cup but I have to say, at the level of the cities, we are working quite well.”
"There are not many roads, there is not much public transport, but the partnership with the new sports minister is very good. I`m very happy with the relationship we have with the new sports minister in Brazil and his report on the World Cup," Valcke said.