Posted on Apr 30
Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo will meet in Zurich next week with FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke for the first time since the latter caused an uproar with his criticism of the country's 2014 World Cup preparations.
The May 8 meeting will focus on preparations for the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as well as scheduled events over the next two years, Rebelo's ministry said in a statement.
Valcke will attend the meeting which will be chaired by FIFA President Sepp Blatter, two months after the firestorm here over Valcke's comments that the Brazilian organizers of the 2014 World Cup needed a "kick up the backside" to hasten lagging preparations for the event.
Valcke and Blatter had to apologize for the remarks, which triggered an angry response from the host country. Rebelo then said Valcke would no longer be welcome as a FIFA spokesman.
The Zurich meeting was also to be attended by the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation and of the Local Organizing Committee Jose Maria Marin, Brazilian football legends Ronaldo and Bebeto as well as the representative of FIFA's executive committee Marco Polo Del Nero.
World governing body FIFA has for months expressed varying degrees of concern over the extent to which preparations -- renovation or construction of stadiums as well as infrastructure projects -- are on track for the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950.
But the Brazilian government insists that all will be ready for the World Cup kickoff in Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014.
A bill demanded by FIFA to allow beer to be sold in stadiums during the Confederations Cup and the World Cup has yet to be endorsed by the Brazilian Senate.
Sales of alcoholic beverages in sports arenas have been banned in Brazil since 2003, but the World Cup bill will create an exception.