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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

FIFA urges Brazil to pass World Cup bill



Brazil had been demanding too much in negotiating the conditions for hosting the 2014 World Cup but a legal dispute should be settled within days, FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) said on Monday.
"Maybe because you have already won the World Cup five times you think you can ask and ask and ask," FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke told reporters after meeting with Brazil's new Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo.
Valcke said he hoped to resolve final differences over discounted tickets at a meeting in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
Brazil has resisted changing its laws banning alcohol in stadiums and providing discounted tickets for people over 65 and FIFA has become frustrated because the World Cup bill which sets the rules for the event has been held up for months in Congress.
Soccer's world ruling body says Brazil's rules would raise the cost of the event and restrict its ability to protect sponsors' trademarks and brands, but Valcke said it was time to end the negotiations.
"The World Cup is not just a law, the World Cup is 12 cities, 12 stadiums, 12 airports. Let's move on," he said.
The dispute has added to worries about Brazil's ability to organize the global sports event, compounded by delays in building a dozen stadiums and corruption allegations against the head of its soccer confederation, Ricardo Teixeira.
Teixeira was absent from Valcke's side in Brasilia, raising speculation that he has been sidelined after former Brazil striker Ronaldo joined the tournament's organizing committee.
But Valcke said Teixeira would chair Thursday's organizing committee meeting in Rio, which could also involve former Brazilian striker Romario who is now a Congressman and an outspoken critic of FIFA's requests.
"I am optimistic," said Ronaldo. "We will show that we are not only good players but also good organizers and we will hold the best World Cup of all time," said the 35-year-old former World Cup winner.
Ronaldo said the organizing committee was looking for a third member to join him and Teixeira on its management board.
Rebelo said the law on the hosting of the World Cup should be passed by Congress at the beginning of March.
FIFA 2014 World Cup sponsors include Adidas, Coca-Cola, Sony, Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser unit and McDonald's and Visa.
Valcke said he would return to Brazil every two months to visit each of the 12 cities in which World Cup matches will be played "to make sure work is going on."
Last Thursday, the Brazilian government released a report that said seven of the 12 stadiums being built would be ready by the end of 2012, in time for the Confederations Cup, a dress rehearsal for the World Cup to be held in 2013.
Renovation of Rio's Maracana stadium, where the World Cup final will be played, is not due to be completed until February 2013, the report said. Sao Paulo stadium, which will host the opening match in 2014, is only 20 percent completed and will not be ready until December, 2013.