• Football

FIFA insists World Cup has to be hosted by Brazil

ESPN staff
June 25, 2013
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FIFA has insisted that there is no alternative to the 2014 World Cup taking place in Brazil despite ongoing civil unrest which has marred the Confederations Cup.

As protests have continued to overshadow the tournament and bring unwanted attention onto social and political issues in the country, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke remained bullish, insisting in familiar tones that 2014 could be the "best World Cup ever".

"The World Cup will be held in Brazil," he told BBC Sport. "The first game will happen in Sao Paulo, the final will be in Rio. There is no plan B."

More than a million people are estimated to have taken to the streets to oppose high transport fees, corruption and the escalating cost of the approaching World Cup. Valcke did admit FIFA briefly considered halting the Confederations Cup but now there was no going back.

"There was one evening on 20 June when we reached a peak in the country. The demonstrations had moved from being non-violent protests to a minority of violent protestors who were making a lot of noise and problems. So the following day we had a crisis meeting, including the government the local organising committee and FIFA just to make sure we were on the same page, in order to end the tournament in the best possible way."

Valcke did concede there remained infrastructure worries but denied any of them were FIFA's fault. "We are not the answer to all problems and we are definitely not the reason for such a crisis. We are just part of what Brazil is doing for the next 20 years.

"I am not saying that because I work for FIFA, as secretary general. But the light FIFA is being shown in here, is the wrong one."

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