GENEVA (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter warned Brazil Monday that they needed to speed up preparations to host the 2014 World Cup, telling them the tournament was “tomorrow” and not the day after.
Blatter, who reiterated his belief that goal line technology could be used in 2014, also said he would make an important announcement about the fight against corruption at the FIFA Congress in June where he stands for re-election.
But his hardline comments on Brazil were the most eye-catching.
“I would like to tell my Brazilian colleagues about the 2014 World Cup, it’s tomorrow, the Brazilians think it’s just the day after tomorrow,” he told reporters.
”We are hoping for a little good faith, things are not advancing very quickly.
”If we compare (2010 hosts) South Africa and Brazil three years before the World Cup, then Brazil has not got as far as South Africa in its preparations.
“If Brazil keeps going like this there will not be matches in Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo at the Confederations Cup.”
The Confederations Cup is held the year before the World Cup in the same country and is used as dress rehearsal for the main stadiums.
Blatter added that because of discussions between Brazilian politicians, it was not clear where this year’s draw for the qualifying competition -- originally scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro in July -- would be held.
Blatter, who faces a challenge from Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed Bin Hamman for the FIFA presidency in June, maintained his faith in FIFA’s ethics committee to stop corruption but also has a new plan.
“I will present something very special there (at FIFA Congress in June) but I will not now disclose the contents -- it is to fight corruption, all cheating and discrimination,” he said.
FIFA was rocked by a corruption scandal last year when two executive committee members were banned for offering to sell their votes in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting contest to undercover newspaper reporters.
Blatter rejected suggestions that FIFA should allow external investigations into its affairs.
“It would be like Switzerland asking France or Germany or Italy to vote for them when they elect the federal council,” he said.
Blatter, 75 and FIFA president since 1998, also dismissed suggestions he should make way for a younger man.
“Age is not a question of a number of years, it’s a question of what you are able to do,” he said. “It is the FIFA Congress which will decide whether I am too old or not.”
He also reflected on how FIFA had grown since he joined as a development officer 36 years ago.
“FIFA had a World Cup with 16 teams, no development program, no youth competition, no women’s competitions, nothing, just a World Cup every four years,” he said.
”Even the Olympic Games was a farce because, at the time, there were only amateurs, so you can imagine why there were no western teams as champions.
“There are 300 million active participants (in soccer) and if you count with their parents and friends, that makes one billion people.”
Editing by Mark Meadows