Sepp Blatter presses Brazil on readiness
GENEVA -- FIFA pesident Sepp Blatter urged Brazil on Monday to speed up its preparations for the 2014 World Cup.
Blatter said Brazil's project was "not progressing very quickly" and lagged behind even where South Africa stood when the successful 2010 host fell behind with its construction schedule.
"I must say that in comparison with the state of play between South Africa and Brazil three years before the World Cup, Brazil is behind South Africa. It's a fact," Blatter told reporters.
Referring to how little time remained, Blatter said "it's tomorrow. The Brazilians think it's just the day after tomorrow. What they shall do is to give a little bit more speed now in the organization."
Blatter said the slow progress meant Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo could be left off the program for the 2013 Confederations Cup, which is designed as a test event for the 32-team tournament.
"The World Cup stadiums are still in the process of being discussed between the city mayors and the state governors," he said.
Blatter reminded that the qualifying draw for FIFA's six confederations was scheduled in July. Brazilian authorities still have not agreed on a host city for the event.
Speaking at a Swiss government-backed media event, he expressed optimism that a proven goal-line technology system would be in place in Brazil.
Blatter also promised FIFA would have a zero-tolerance approach to corruption and bad behavior on and off the field.
He outlined a new project for the FIFA Congress on June 1, where he's hoping to win election for a fourth four-year term.
"I will present something very special there but I will not now disclose what is the content," Blatter said. "It's to fight corruption, all cheating and discrimination.
"We also want to appeal to players, coaches, referees to behave on the field of play," he said, adding that illegal betting and match-fixing would be addressed.
Blatter acknowledged Swiss public authorities had called on FIFA to be more transparent after corruption allegations clouded bidding contests for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups last year.
FIFA's ethics panel barred two executive committee members from voting and suspended four other senior officials from duty. The two voters, Nigerian Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii from Tahiti, have said they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn their sanctions of three years and one year, respectively.
Blatter said the subject would be an important item on the congress agenda.
"We're looking at our game. We want to be transparent when it comes to activities that are, let's say, forbidden," he said.
However, Blatter said he had rejected requests from Swiss authorities that members of FIFA's judicial committees should be nominated by people from outside soccer's governing body.
The FIFA president suggested the Swiss parliament and states would not accept having outside bodies choose their legal officials.
"If it is valid for the government, it shall be valid for FIFA," Blatter said.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
MORE SPORTS HEADLINES
- Ribery, Benzema charged with soliciting minor
- Ex-U.S. coach denies Solo's shoving allegation
- Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta UEFA award finalists
- Kompany: Van Persie would boost any team