Blatter: Boston Bombings a Wake-up Call for Brazil Confederations Cup

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CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb with Blatter at the inauguration of the new HQ for the Federation of Haitian Football earlier this week (Getty)
(WFI) FIFA president Sepp Blatter claims the Boston Marathon terror attack should be a warning to organisers of the Brazil Confederations Cup to ensure robust security plans are in place for this summer’s tournament.

Speaking to media on a visit to Cuba on Wednesday, the Swiss described the Boston bombing as a “tragedy and an attack on sport”.

"It is incredible, but it is our society, a society that is violent," he was quoted as saying in Havana by the Associated Press.

"We must be careful, but sports organisations, the best and biggest, don't have the right to intervene with police, with armed forces. That doesn't happen. So we should take all possible precautions to secure an event."

The Boston Marathon bombings on Monday killed three people and injured another 170 in the most deadly terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11.

Blatter expressed his deepest sympathy for the victims and their families in a joint letter to Thomas Grilk and Thomas M. Menino, the executive director of the Boston Athletic Commission and Mayor of Boston.

“It is important for the international sporting community to stand together in condemning these cowardly actions, which are not only an attack on the citizens of Boston, but also on sport itself and its ethics of discipline, respect and fair play, which we must continue to upheld in the face of society’s problems, even if it is admittedly difficult to think of such things at this sad time,” he wrote.

Blatter’s comments to reporters during his six-day tour of the Caribbean and Central America, prior to the CONCACAF Congress tomorrow, appeared to sound a warning to organisers of the June 15 to 30 Confederations Cup, which takes place across six cities in Brazil.

Brazil has its own security problems, with the government waging war on drug gang violence in Rio de Janeiro’s slums. But there are issues elsewhere. Last Sunday, in the northeast city of Fortaleza, one of the venues for the Confederations Cup, two football fans were shot dead en route to a test event at the Arena Castelao.

Under questioning about security for the Brazil 2014 World Cup, Blatter said the Brazilian government was in charge of security plans.

"The police, armed forces, secret services of the 31 teams that qualify (for Brazil 2014), that will be a work force that will be in Interpol's hands. We can't do anything more,” he was quoted by the Associated Press.

Blatter and FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke arrived in Panama on Wednesday ahead of tomorrow’s CONCACAF Congress in Panama City.

The FIFA delegation and CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb arrived in Panama after a three-day tour of the Caribbean, which included visits to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba.

Blatter met Cuban president Raul Castro and met the coujntry’s sports leaders to including Christian Jimenez Molina, president of the National Institute of Sport, and president of the Cuban Olympic Committee, Jose Fernandez. They spoke about football, education and health.

At a press conference later on Wednesday, he paid tribute to Cuban football.

“Cuba is an example for many national associations to follow, especially when it comes to the relationship between the association and government, whose support is essential in providing funding for the coaches and staff who look after the national teams,” he was quoted on FIFA.com.

Valcke Urges Brasilia to Speed Up Stadium Work

At the same media briefing, Valcke admitted there was no back-up plan if Brasilia’s National Stadium, scheduled to host the opening Confederations Cup match, isn't finished.

Valcke told reporters “we don't have a Plan B”.

Brasilia authorities sparked FIFA concerns earlier this week when they said the stadium would not be ready this month due to further delays. They say it will be completed by May 18, but that’s less than a month before the Brazil v Japan Confederations Cup opener.

By INSIDER’s Mark Bisson

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