SHARE
COPY LINK

FOOTBALL

FIFA ‘goes through hell’ over Brazil World Cup

Zurich-based FIFA, the planet's governing body for football, have "been through hell" over this summer's World Cup in Brazil, according to general secretary Jérôme Valcke.

FIFA 'goes through hell' over Brazil World Cup
Photo: AFP/File

"In Brazil there are certain politicians who are against the World Cup, and the fact is that we've been through hell, essentially because in Brazil you have three political levels and there has been a change — there was an election and we're not necessarily talking with the same people (as before) — it was difficult to keep repeating the same message," Valcke said on Tuesday evening at a forum in Lausanne.
   
"It's not FIFA that is organizing the World Cup in Brazil, but Brazil, which is organizing the World Cup in 12 towns, Valcke said.
   
"We're supporting Brazil to ensure that it's a success because the whole of FIFA is based around the success of the World Cup," he said.

"If the World Cup is a failure then we, FIFA, are in trouble."
   
One of the main concerns has been consistent delays to the completion of stadiums.
   
FIFA had set a December deadline but this has been forced to be extended as several of the stadiums simply hadn't been completed.
   
"We should have received the stadiums in December, we'll receive them on May 15th (less than a month before the World Cup kicks off)," added the Frenchman, second in command at FIFA behind president Sepp Blatter.
   
"It's a little bit later than expected but we know how to adapt."
   
Valcke, however, warned 2018 World Cup hosts Russia that such leniency would not be repeated.
   
"If I can pass on just one official message, it is that Russia should not believe that delivering a stadium on May 15th is a point of reference," he said.

"I hope they will respect the timings."
   
However, Valcke admitted that certain works, for example in the town of Cuiaba, would not be finished by the time the tournament starts.
   
"I'm not saying everything will be finished," he said.
   
"But when it comes to the stadiums, after everything that's been said, having reduced our expectations and our needs, we'll have what is necessary to ensure that for the journalists, teams, fans and officials, there will be a World Cup that remains, I hope, especially if the drama of 1950 can be erased for Brazil, an exceptional memory."
   
Turning his attentions to Qatar in 2022, Valcke insisted the World Cup would be played in winter.
   
"The World Cup will be played in winter, I think everyone has said that and repeated it.
   
"Now we need to know when in winter it will be played and the executive committee will try to reply to that in March 2015."
   
He added that the tournament would be played in eight stadiums rather than the usual 12.
   
"I was the first person to speak with Qatar to say that there is no sense in having 12 or 10; eight is the right number of stadiums for the size of the country," he added.
   
FIFA rules state that an organizing country must have at least eight stadiums with at least one of those able to hold a minimum of 80,000 people.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

SHOW COMMENTS