It’s not unusual for FIFA, the world’s governing soccer body, to get on the nerves of its member nations. Most countries back down when the organization’s president Sepp Blatter and his lackeys start to bully them around, but Brazil has decided to stand up to the allegedly-corrupt soccer power.
Brazil is scheduled to host the World Cup in 2014, but FIFA has said the nation is too far behind schedule when it comes to several issues. Aldo Rebelo, the sports minister of Brazil, was especially upset with Jerome Valcke, the secretary general of FIFA, who said on March 2 that the country needs to get moving and a kick up the ass is needed to get preparations back on schedule. Rebelo told Blatter that he doesn’t want to deal with Valcke anymore and he’s no longerv welcome in Brazil.
FIFA says Brazil’s government hasn’t passed key legislation yet regarding the world’s largest sporting event and that two stadiums still need to be approved. While the World Cup isn’t until 2014, the nation needs to have everything in place by 2013 as the Confederations Cup will take place in Brazil as a trial run for the big event a year later. FIFA is also concerned about the lack of hotel rooms in some host cities.
Rebelo said he’s going to send a message to Blatter requesting that Valcke be replaced and somebody else should be sent to Brazil when dealing with World Cup issues. If Valcke isn’t replaced things could turn a lot worse before they get better. Blatter doesn’t have any plans to visit the nation personally, but he’s expected to show up once the government passes bills relating to the World Cup.
Rebelo said Brazil will still work with FIFA, but not Valcke. He also reminded FIFA that they chose in to hold the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and it wasn’t imposed on the organization. In fact, Brazil was the only nation that bid on the event since FIFA alternates continents for World Cups. Things have been rocky from the start though with both FIFA and the Brazilian World Cup Committee being accused of corruption.
Ricardo Teixeira, the president of the committee, said he understands FIFA’s concerns, but Brazil won’t be dictated to. He said FIFA needs to show more respect to the nation’s government and people. Teixeira has been accused of corruption himself and many people have called for him to resign, but it seems unlikely at this point unless he’s found guilty of any wrongdoing.
One of FIFA’s biggest concerns is the government bill which will allow the sale of beer in the 12 host stadiums. This is a touchy issue since Brazil banned the sale of alcohol at soccer games years ago. FIFA of course, realize more money can be made by selling beer and wants to keep Budweiser happy since it’s one of the major sponsors of the World Cup.
Many Brazilian politicians feel Blatter is just concerned about money and not the safety of fans. They emphasize the country’s laws shouldn’t be overturned because alcohol and soccer don’t mix and it would be a step backwards to allow beer sales. FIFA says Brazil originally agreed to beer in the stadiums and can’t understand why it’s taking the government so long to pass new legislation.
Brazil seems to have the upper hand in this dispute since there’s no way FIFA can award the 2014 World Cup to another country as there’s simply not enough time to prepare for it. While most soccer fans would love to be able to enjoy a couple of beers at the games, many of them would forgo that pleasure just to see FIFA finally put in its place.