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Brazil to cut ties with Valcke after criticism

Brazil to cut ties with Valcke after criticism

Brazil's government announced Saturday it will refuse to deal with FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke following his "unacceptable" criticism over the country's preparations for the 2014 World Cup.
Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo called for FIFA to assign another official to work with the government. Valcke responded by calling the move "puerile".
Ahead of a visit to Brazil in a week, Valcke sparked the exchange by sending a blunt message to organizers on Friday: "You have to push yourself, kick your (backside)."
Valcke said that "things are not working in Brazil" and that "not a lot is moving" with just two years left before the tournament and barely a year before the Confederations Cup.
Rebelo said the government would not accept the criticism from FIFA's top administrator.
"We have always had a cordial attitude toward everyone from FIFA here in Brazil," Rebelo said. "We can't accept to hear such an offensive comment. He (Valcke) can't say something like that about a country. It's unacceptable."
Rebelo said he understands Valcke will keep his duties as FIFA's secretary general and will continue to work closely with local organizers, but from now on the Brazilian government will not welcome him when he comes to the country.
"We will continue to have a relationship with FIFA and we will continue receiving them well," he said. "We are just expressing the position of the Brazilian government (in relation to Valcke)."
But Valcke on Saturday accused Rebelo of making excuses and ignoring the problems facing organizers.
"Why doesn't he deal with the issue?" Valcke told reporters at a meeting of football rule-makers in England. "If (I'm) the problem because nothing has happened over the five years ... because I made, wow, one comment saying things are not working well and I for once said exactly what is happening in Brazil _ if the result is they don't want to talk to me any more, I'm not the guy they want to work with, that's a bit puerile."
Rebelo had said Valcke's comments contradict FIFA's own evaluation of the country's preparations after a visit in January.
"The secretary general made an evaluation that does not correspond to the facts or the reality," Rebelo said.
The minister said Brazil will inform FIFA president Sepp Blatter of the decision to have Valcke replaced as the person responsible for working with the government in the country's preparations. Rebelo said he will not suggest a replacement, however, adding that FIFA will likely make that decision.
Valcke's comments on Friday came just a few days after a congressional commission in Brazil delayed voting on a key bill regulating the World Cup and setting the legal framework that gives FIFA the necessary guarantees to organize football's showcase event in 2014.
Valcke said he was frustrated with the "endless discussions" in Congress about the proposed law.
The bill had already been delayed last month as congressmen remained divided on a few issues, including the sale of alcoholic beverages inside stadiums, something that currently is against the law in Brazil. FIFA demands the country changes its law as Budweiser is a major World Cup sponsor.
FIFA said Brazil agreed to its demands when it was awarded the 2014 tournament in 2007, but the proposed law has been generating controversy as critics say it gives too much power to football's governing body.
Valcke's criticism also came ahead of next week's visit of a team of nearly 40 people from FIFA and the local organizing committee to inspect six of the 12 host cities. The other six will host the Confederations Cup in 2013 and were inspected last year.
One of the cities visited next week will be Porto Alegre, which is in danger of being dropped as a host because its Beira-Rio stadium had renovation work halted more than eight months ago because of a lack of financial guarantees.
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AP Sports Writer Rob Harris in Bagshot, England contributed to this report.
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Updated : 2021-04-13 14:51 GMT+08:00