Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke apologises over Brazil World Cup comments

 

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke apologised yesterday for remarking that Brazil needed a "kick up the backside" to be ready for the 2014 World Cup as the government formally declared him unwelcome to visit for talks on the tournament next week.

Valcke's comment on Friday angered the South American soccer power, and prompted Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo to write to FIFA president Sepp Blatter to say they no longer wanted to deal with the Frenchman, who was due to visit on March 12.

After publicising its decision to write to Blatter, the government revealed a note from Valcke apologising for his remarks.

In the note, a copy of which has been seen by Reuters, Valcke said his remark had became much harsher in translation from French to Portuguese and only meant "speed things up".

He did, however, add there was "certainly an air of worry at FIFA" about the slow progress of tournament preparations.

Rebelo said in his letter to Blatter:

"The form and content of (Valcke's) remarks go beyond acceptable standards of harmonious coexistence between a sovereign state like Brazil and a centenary international organisation like FIFA.

"Faced with this fact, the Brazilian government can no longer accept Mr Jerome Valcke as an interlocutor in its dealings with FIFA during preparations for this World Cup."

Rebelo had already described Valcke's remarks as "offensive" and "unacceptable" at a news conference on Saturday.

FIFA has criticised Brazil for slow progress preparing stadiums and infrastructure and a delay in passing laws on the sale of alcoholic drinks at venues and for cheap tickets for low-income sectors of society.

On his last visit to Brazil in January, Valcke had praised progress at venues he visited.

Although apologising to Rebelo, Valcke described himself as the person ultimately responsible for the World Cup and that he was under pressure to ensure Brazil delivered the finals in good time.

He went on to tell Rebelo that he was "confident there is no problem that cannot be overcome with the efforts of FIFA, the local organising committee and the Brazilian authorities."

Brazil was FIFA's only choice for the 2014 tournament and its success was "not only one of my duties but also my biggest wish," Valcke added.

Reuters

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen