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  5. Brazil Says Blatter Apologizes Over Valcke Remarks

Brazil Says Blatter Apologizes Over Valcke Remarks

Sao Paulo, Mar 7: FIFA President Sepp Blatter apologized on Tuesday for remarks made by Secretary General Jerome Valcke about Brazil's preparations for the 2014 World Cup and plans to fly in to meet with

India TV News Desk [ Updated: March 07, 2012 10:35 IST ]
brazil says blatter apologizes over valcke remarks
brazil says blatter apologizes over valcke remarks

Sao Paulo, Mar 7: FIFA President Sepp Blatter apologized on Tuesday for remarks made by Secretary General Jerome Valcke about Brazil's preparations for the 2014 World Cup and plans to fly in to meet with President Dilma Rousseff by next week.


The Brazilian government that Blatter apologized in a letter to the sports ministry a day after Valcke sent his own apology.

The government had officially informed FIFA that it would no longer deal with Valcke after he said: "You have to push yourself, kick your (backside)" to speed up the country's preparations.

It remained unclear whether the government would accept the apologies and change its position regarding Valcke.

The government said Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo would first answer the letters from FIFA officials before making his decision public in a few days.

The speaker of the House said Brazil is likely to deal with Valcke again.

"He got a red card," Marco Maia told local media. "He is automatically suspended but will eventually return. What is important is that we have a great World Cup."

The Brazilian government said in a statement that Blatter and Rebelo spoke on the phone Tuesday, and the FIFA president "guaranteed to the minister" that the "Valcke episode" will not happen again. It also said Brazil wants to maintain "an environment of cooperation and harmony" with FIFA.

Blatter, who is in Bangladesh to meet with national federation officials, asked Rebelo in his letter to set up the meeting with Rousseff. Blatter was not officially scheduled to travel to Brazil before Valcke's comments, although the Brazilian government expected him to visit the country after a key bill regulating the World Cup is approved in Congress.

"I would like to meet with President Dilma Rousseff and (Rebelo) as soon as possible, preferably next week," Blatter said.

Without directly mentioning Valcke's remarks in his letter released by the sports ministry, in Portuguese, Blatter expressed his "deepest regret" about the situation.

"I'm extremely worried about the deterioration of the relationship between FIFA and the Brazilian government," he said. "My only comment regarding this subject is to apologize to everyone who may have had their honor and their pride hurt, especially the Brazilian government and President Dilma Rousseff."

Blatter said Brazil and FIFA have "a goal in common" and must "work together" to organize an "extraordinary World Cup in the country of football, in the country of champions."

He said that Brazil deserves to host the World Cup which everyone is anxiously awaiting, but warned that "time is passing by" since the country was picked to host football's showcase event in 2007.

"We shouldn't let conflicts make us lose time," he said. "Instead, let's work together to build something bigger, as promised by (former) President (Luiz Inacio) Lula (da Silva) during his term."

Blatter's apology came as congressmen gathered in Brasilia to vote on the World Cup bill, which would give FIFA the necessary legal and financial guarantees to organize the event. A congressional commission approved the bill later Tuesday in a victory to FIFA and the Brazilian government, but it still has to go through the lower house and the senate before reaching Rousseff.

The government said the bill could be voted on in the lower house as early as Wednesday.

The delay by the congressional commission was one of the reasons that caused Valcke to complain about the country's preparations.

Many congressmen attacked Valcke this week for his comments, and resistance by those against the bill was expected to increase had FIFA not apologized.

Among the issues approved by lawmakers was the sale of alcoholic beverages inside stadiums, something that currently is against the law in Brazil but which FIFA supports because Budweiser is a major World Cup sponsor.

When Brazil was picked to host the World Cup, the nation accepted FIFA's demands to make changes to its laws to facilitate the tournament's organization. But the proposed bill has been contentious, with critics saying Brazilians shouldn't bow to FIFA's demands.

FIFA wants the bill to take effect by the end of March, so the country could quickly get on with its preparations for the World Cup and next year's Confederations Cup.

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FIFA 2018 Points Table

  • TEAMS PL W L D PTS
  • RussiaRussia 2 2 0 0 6
  • UruguayUruguay 2 2 0 0 6
  • EgyptEgypt 2 0 2 0 0
  • Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia 2 0 2 0 0
  • SpainSpain 2 1 0 1 4
  • PortugalPortugal 2 1 0 1 4
  • IR IranIR Iran 2 1 1 0 3
  • MoroccoMorocco 2 0 2 0 0
  • FranceFrance 1 1 0 0 3
  • DenmarkDenmark 1 1 0 0 3
  • AustraliaAustralia 1 0 1 0 0
  • PeruPeru 1 0 1 0 0
  • CroatiaCroatia 1 1 0 0 3
  • IcelandIceland 1 0 0 1 1
  • ArgentinaArgentina 1 0 0 1 1
  • NigeriaNigeria 1 0 1 0 0
  • Serbia Serbia 1 1 0 0 3
  • BrazilBrazil 1 0 0 1 1
  • SwitzerlandSwitzerland 1 0 0 1 1
  • Costa RicaCosta Rica 1 0 1 0 0
  • SwedenSweden 1 1 0 0 3
  • MexicoMexico 1 1 0 0 3
  • GermanyGermany 1 0 1 0 0
  • Korea Republic Korea Republic 1 0 1 0 0
  • BelgiumBelgium 1 1 0 0 3
  • EnglandEngland 1 1 0 0 3
  • TunisiaTunisia 1 0 1 0 0
  • PanamaPanama 1 0 1 0 0
  • JapanJapan 1 1 0 0 3
  • SenegalSenegal 1 1 0 0 3
  • PolandPoland 1 0 1 0 0
  • ColombiaColombia 1 0 1 0 0
FIFA World Cup 2018 Schedule