Brazilian Sports Minister Hits Back at "Unfocused" World Cup 2014 Criticisms
Brazilian sports minister Orlando Silva was in a defiant mood following criticism of his country's World Cup preparations. (Getty)
(ATR) Brazilian Sports Minister Orlando Silva has hit back at criticisms of his country’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup, and spoken of the huge financial commitment the government is making towards hosting the finals.
Speaking to reporters in an hour long conference call on Wednesday, Silva was asked about scathing criticism about Brazil’s readiness – including a rebuke in May from FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, who declared himself “amazed” at the slow pace of change – and said that he had “no comment” for “unfocused comments and criticisms.”
In an apparent rebuke against the media-backlash – precipitated by Valcke’s comments - Silva said that FIFA would be “surprised” by Brazil’s preparations when it becomes more closely engaged with the 2014 organizers, and suggested that it should share some responsibility for the slow start.
“FIFA should formally be in Brazil – with an office and everything – from next September,” he said.
“And they will see our reality close by. They will be surprised with the preparations for the World Cup.
“But of course FIFA will have to do its part. Projects for stadiums were only approved in May and you cannot start building or revising a stadium without having had the project approved. But these are just details.”
Silva nevertheless described the relations between FIFA and the Brazilian government as “very good.”
“President Blatter has met three times with President Lula,” he said.
“I myself have met several times have met several times with Blatter, Jerome [Valcke] and Ricardo Teixeira, who is the FIFA representative in Brazil.”
Silva used the teleconference to talk up the significant federal and local government support for the World Cup.
He said that a final budget was still to be agreed as some matters – notably security – were still under discussion. But he revealed that $4.4billion federal money for local transport infrastructure would be augmented by a further $2.1billion from local government.
$3.1billion of federal funds, plus another $421million for ports was being made available.
In addition a $2.7billion credit line was being made available for stadiums, with a limit of $226million per stadium.
Another $556 million of credit was being made available for hotels, but Silva acknowledged that more would need to be agreed after huge interest from overseas corporations.
Silva hinted that there would be a resolution on Sao Paulo, which is currently without an agreed venue, and also said that Rio de Janeiro’s media and broadcast centre would also be used for the 2016 Olympics.
He also suggested that the Brazilian government would have liked more than the twelve host cities approved by FIFA, but said that there would be plenty happening across the country and that it would be a genuinely national event.
“If we could put together all the cities that would be hosting an event for the 2014 World Cup we would have to redesign the Brazilian map,” he said.
“The World Cup is a national project and this makes hosting the World Cup a more complex project.
“There are twelve cities, which means twelve local governments, eleven state governments and local governments.
“[All] are working together with the federal government - there is a very positive integration with different levels of government in Brazil.”
Written by James Corbett.
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