World Cup 2014: 'England aren't welcome here', says mayor of Manaus after Roy Hodgson admits he'd like to avoid the Amazon city
Arthur Virgilio admitted that he'd prefer to have a 'better' team playing in his city
Friday 06 December 2013
The mayor of Manaus has told England they are not welcome there during the World Cup because of Roy Hodgson's comments regarding the jungle city's climate.
England will discover the identity of their opponents and the venues they will play their group matches in at Friday's World Cup draw in Salvador.
At a press conference in London on Monday Hodgson raised his concerns about the prospect of playing in Manaus, north-west Brazil, because of the humid conditions in the city, which lies deep inside the Amazon rainforest.
"Manaus is the place ideally to avoid," the England boss said.
"The tropicality of Manaus is the problem. It will be a difficult venue for everyone, but for northern European players it will be a little bit harder."
There did not seem anything inflammatory about Hodgson's comments at the time. His concern about humidity levels, which can reach over 80 per cent during the Brazilian winter, appeared to be perfectly valid given that English players have little or no experience of playing in such conditions.
But the mayor of the Brazilian city has taken offence. Arthur Virgilio said in a statement on his Facebook page: "We would prefer that England doesn't come.
"We hope to get a better team and a coach who is more sensible and polite. He's one of the few people in the world who is not curious about the Amazon, who doesn't want to know Manaus."
Virgilio reckons Hodgson, whose team are big outsiders for the tournament in Brazil, is getting his excuses in early.
"To make excuses shows lack of enthusiasm and self-confidence," Virgilio said. "Fortunately the English people are different than Mr Hodgson."
Manaus has little football heritage, but organisers wanted to take the World Cup there to raise the profile of the sport in the city.
Four games will be played at a specially constructed stadium in the city during the tournament, which begins in June when temperatures can reach well over 30 degrees centigrade.
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