FIFA has faith in Brazil

FIFA remains confident it can deliver "a safe and successful" World Cup in Brazil next year.

Last Updated: 22/06/13 at 16:07 Post Comment

The Confederations Cup has been hit by protests

The Confederations Cup has been hit by protests

FIFA remains confident it can deliver "a safe and successful" World Cup in Brazil next year amid widespread anti-government protests and demonstrations which have hit the ongoing Confederations Cup.

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff responded to the unrest on Thursday by issuing a public address to the nation, where she explained among other issues that the funding for the World Cup would not be coming out of the public purse.

An estimated one million people have been involved in protests in cities across the country, initially over rising transport fares but quickly developing into rallies against other issues, including government corruption and also the amount of public money spent on the 2014 finals - which Brazil are hosting for the first time since 1950.

Protests have affected the ongoing Confederations Cup, with local media on Friday claiming the eight-team competition, which includes Spain and Italy as well as the hosts, could be stopped.

However, FIFA issued a statement on Saturday reiterating there are no plans to abandon the tournament despite some of the demonstrations descending into violence.

"We welcome Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff's address to the nation, and we reassert our collaboration with the (Brazilian) government to deliver a safe and successful Confederations Cup and World Cup, which all football fans can enjoy," a spokesman said at Saturday's media briefing at the Maracana Stadium.

Rousseff had used her address to try to allay fears the Brazilian people would be saddled with the huge costs of putting on the World Cup, with the Olympic Games set to follow in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

She said: "With regard to the World Cup, I want to clarify that the federal money spent on the stadiums is in the form of financing that will be duly repaid by the companies and governments that are exploiting these stadiums.

"I would never allow these funds to come out of the federal public budget or to damage priority sectors such as health and education.

"In fact, we have strongly expanded spending in health and education, and we will expand it more and more. I trust that the National Congress will approve the bill I presented that ensures that all oil royalties are spent exclusively on education.

"It is also imperative that I mention a very important topic that has to do with our Brazilian soul and our manners.

"Brazil, the only country to have participated in every World Cup and a five-time world champion, has always been very well received everywhere.

"We must give our friends the same generous welcome we have received from them - with respect, love and joy. This is how we must treat our guests. Football and sport are symbols of peace and peaceful coexistence among peoples.

"Brazil deserves to, and will, host a great World Cup."

The disruption and violence has also raised questions over Brazil's ability to put on a safe and secure tournament in 12 months' time, but Rousseff insisted her country would rise to that challenge.

"This violence, promoted by a small minority, cannot tarnish a peaceful and democratic movement," she continued.

"We cannot live with such violence, which shames Brazil."

FIFA spokesman Pekka Odriozola again stressed at Saturday's briefing in Brazil that there had never been any major concerns over the staging of the Confederations Cup or fears over the status of the nation as the next World Cup hosts.

"Yesterday we already explained out position on this, and have today reiterated we are in contact with the local authorities on a daily basis, which is normal for the usual structures of such an event," the FIFA spokesman told journalists.

"We have continued to have those contacts on a daily basis, as we had foreseen to have for such a competition.

"From both FIFA, the local organising committee and the federal government, there were no discussions regarding any cancellation or change of venue with regards to the Confederations Cup or the World Cup. There has been no discussion at this stage regarding that possibility."

Odriozola feels the tournament so far has to be regarded as a success in terms of spectator matchday experience.

He added: "From our side, and we have said this from the beginning, we want to make sure the fans can enjoy the competition.

"We want to make sure all of the operations in the stadiums are working well, and so far they have worked well.

"For us the priority is to ensure the match operations continue to work well, and that we can enjoy great matches, like we have today - Italy against Brazil, what more can you ask for? It is the two teams with more World Cup victories (than anyone else), so I think it is something for all the fans to enjoy."


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