Skip to main content

FIFA's Valcke seeks support from Brazilian critic Romario

updated 10:02 AM EST, Fri March 8, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jerome Valcke says there is enough time for Brazil to prepare for Confederations Cup
  • June tournament serves as a test run for 2014 World Cup, also in Brazil
  • The Confederations Cup will begin in exactly 100 days
  • FIFA official hopes his critics will rally to make sure Brazil is prepared

Rio de Janeiro (CNN) -- FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke has called for unity between football's governing body and local organizers as the countdown to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil continues, following tensions over preparations for the tournament.

Valcke was in Rio to mark 100 days to go until the Confederations Cup, an event which serves as a test run ahead of football's four-yearly showpiece event.

During his tour of the country, Valcke was accompanied by organizing committee members Bebeto and Ronaldo, two former Brazilian national team stars who tasted World Cup victory.

Romario, a teammate of Bebeto's during Brazil's 1994 triumph, was named President of the Brazilian Tourism & Sports Commission on Wednesday.

Brazil's World Cup countdown
Rio secures favelas ahead of World Cup
Sex workers take English lessons

The former striker has been a firm a critic of Valcke in the past after the Frenchman condemned Brazil's World Cup preparations.

The criticism led to calls for Valcke to be removed from proceedings, but he insists the situation has been resolved.

"I just wish him all the best," Valcke told CNN. "I hope in his position he will support (us).

"I know that sometimes he has hard words on FIFA, on the World Cup, on different people, but at least I hope that he will support and is supporting the World Cup as a sporting event."

Read: Is Brazil ready to take center stage?

The South American country's preparations for its second World Cup -- and first in more than 60 years -- have been beset by problems.

Brazilian Football Federation president Ricardo Teixeira stood down in March 2012 amid allegations of corruption, while concerns have been raised over whether stadia will be ready on time.

Particular scrutiny is being paid to the construction of the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the final the last time Brazil staged the World Cup in 1950 and is due to reopen with a match against England on June 2.

The eight-nation Confederations Cup, which pits continental champions against each other, will be held in the cities of Rio, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Brasilia, Fortaleza and Salvador from June 15-30.

FIFA in Brazil beer feud
Jerome Valcke: Match-fixing a 'disease'

Read: Valcke - Match-fixing a 'disease'

"It's like when you're expecting a baby to come," Valcke told CNN. "It is 100 days so you are a bit more nervous than you are at the beginning of the process.

"The Confederations Cup is not the same event as the World Cup. The World Cup is a bigger event than the Confederations Cup. What we have to agree and what we have to make sure of is ... we have more than enough time to test the stadium, to use the stadium, and to have a stadium ready for the Confederations Cup.

"It's very tight, that's a point -- 100 days is nothing."

Next year's World Cup marks the start of a landmark couple of years for Brazilian sport, with Rio hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Wed June 4, 2014
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
updated 11:19 AM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
updated 3:24 PM EDT, Mon May 19, 2014
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Tue May 13, 2014
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
updated 9:18 AM EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
updated 12:03 PM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 01: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
updated 1:15 PM EDT, Wed April 30, 2014
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
updated 5:31 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Brazil's Dani Alves arrived at Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and he has gone on to make over 180 appearances for the club.
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
ADVERTISEMENT