Sport Football Blatter plays down World Cup spat

Blatter plays down World Cup spat

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FIFA chief Sepp Blatter on Thursday played down spats with 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil, despite warnings over sluggish preparations, insisting that confidence was the watchword.

Following talks with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, which came after the two sides locked horns over the readiness of stadiums, Blatter said the outlook was fine.

“For me, as with everything we organise, it’s a matter of confidence, of mutual confidence,” Blatter told reporters alongside Rousseff.

“And confidence reigns. We now still have several months to go and we still need to make a few small adjustments here and there. I’m used to World Cups. There won’t be any problem. In the end, everything will be fine in Brazil,” he said.

“Brazil is the nation of football,” Blatter underlined. “So Brazil will organise a splendid World Cup.”

FIFA originally set a firm December 31 deadline for all 12 of Brazil’s venues to be completed but had to scrap that date with half of the stadiums still requiring work.

This week in Brazil, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke dropped a bombshell by warning that Curitiba risked being struck off the list of host cities due to slack preparations.

The World Cup kicks off on June 12 and ends on July 13.

On Thursday, Valcke told a news conference in Brazil that it was impossible to say when the Curitiba stadium would be ready.

“We are working on a delivery for the end of April, start of May, which is very late. We need daily updates.”

Earlier this month, Rousseff countered criticism from Blatter over Brazil’s tardy preparations for the event by insisting the country would prove able to host the “Cup of Cups”.

On Thursday, she reiterated that pledge and insisted that the situation would be fine in the end.

“The Brazilian government will do everything, and the stadiums will be ready. Stadiums are relatively simple construction projects. We will do everything to ensure that this will be the globe’s most beautiful World Cup ever,” she said.

Rousseff was in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum, an annual gathering of the globe’s business and political elite in the Alpine resort of Davos.