Exclusive - Valcke Denies Brazil 2014 Delays as World Cup Slogan Launched
May 29, 2012
Valcke: ""You know that at the end it will happen... we will have a great World Cup." (Getty)
(WFI) FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke tells World Football INSIDER that his relations with Brazil have improved since his high-profile spat with sports minister Aldo Rebelo.
Refusing to discuss delays across the project, he says the launch of the Brazil 2014 World Cup slogan in Rio de Janeiro today is an important milestone to ramp up enthusiasm.
Valcke, who flew to Rio on Monday night, is part of a FIFA delegation which includes marketing boss Thierry Weil, TV director Niclas Ericson and communications and public affairs chief Walter De Gregorio.
The Frenchman is on his first trip to Brazil since January. In March, he blasted 2014 preparations saying the country needed a "kick up the backside". That comment sparked outrage in Brazil and led to postponement of his planned bi-monthly host city tour, a Valcke apology and clear-the-air talks in Zurich on May 8 when Brazil LOC leaders, government officials and FIFA chiefs met to hammer out a new strategy to deliver the World Cup.
Valcke joked to INSIDER that he couldn't "remember at all" when he was last in Brazil but claimed the row was now over and all parties were moving forward in a new spirit of partnership.
"I think since then [May 8] we are fine," he said.
Under fresh efforts to keep Brazil 2014 on track, the respective leaders of FIFA, the LOC and the government will now meet every six weeks for talks about Confederations Cup and World Cup progress.
Valcke's visit this week is largely to launch the Brazil 2014 slogan, which will boost the profile of the event and aid its commercial exploitation by sponsors.
"I think it's important for Brazil because it's an additional step in the organisation of the World Cup," he said, noting that the 2013 Confederations Cup draw was the next big moment for the football-mad nation.
"All the events are also a way to increase the pressure and the passion of
the country to make sure that it's these steps and these deadlines we have in our calendar... [they] deliver on time all these events," Valcke said.
Valcke Won't Talk Delays
Brazil is still lagging behind schedule in its delivery of new and revamped stadia and in delivery of the promised airports infrastructure for the World Cup.
Rebelo said last week that he had no doubt the 12 venues for the 2013 Confederations Cup and World Cup would be delivered on time. But reports from Brazil claim construction has been completed or is underway on only around 60% of proposed venues and transport infrastructure projects.
Valcke, however, won't admit to any delays.
"What we have to do is not talk about is Brazil ready or not ready or is Brazil behind or not behind. What we have to do now is deliver in one year's time the Confeds Cup and in two years the World Cup," he told INSIDER.
"We have to make sure whatever is the situation we are finding solutions to make sure that everyone will be able to work and deliver the best World Cup. And that's what we will do.
"You know that at the end it will happen... we will have a great World Cup."
Valcke suggested that Brazil's footballing authorities had other challenges to address.
"I think one of the concerns for Brazil is to make sure that the team will play the final and win the World Cup," he said.
"That's something which is not in our hands. But the rest we can definitely work together and make sure that it will happen."
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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