FIFA secretary general apologizes to Brazil
March 6, 2012 -- Updated 2114 GMT (0514 HKT)
- NEW: FIFA President Sepp Blatter also sent his own apology to Brazil
- FIFA's secretary general has been quoted as saying Brazil needs a "kick up the backside"
- Jerome Valcke says there was a misinterpretation in the translation into Portuguese
- He repeats concerns about Brazil's progress on hosting the 2014 World Cup
(CNN) -- FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has apologized to Brazil's minister of sports for a "misinterpretation in the translation" of his comment saying the country needs a "kick up the backside" to be ready in time for the 2014 World Cup.
Valcke's letter of apology to Aldo Rebelo came hours after the country had sent official notice to FIFA that it would no longer accept Valcke as liaison.
"We received with astonishment the inappropriate statements by Mr. Jerome Valcke in recent days to the international press. The form and content of statements escaped the patterns of harmonious coexistence between a sovereign country such as Brazil and an international organization, such as FIFA," wrote Rebelo.
Valcke, in his letter Monday, explained that in French, "se donner un coup de pied aux fesses" means "to pick up the pace." Unfortunately, he wrote, the expression had been translated so that in Portuguese it used much "stronger words."
The translation was a literal one.
FIFA: Brazil must sell beer in stadiums
Beer at World Cup stirs controversy
"There is certainly an air of concern at FIFA, and as the person who is ultimately responsible for delivery of the FIFA World Cup, I am under quite some pressure," he said. Valcke and a large team of FIFA representatives are due to visit Brazil next week.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter also sent his own apology.
The Sports Ministry said in a news release that it had it received a letter from Blatter on Tuesday.
According the ministry, Blatter said: "My only comment in relation to this issue is to apologize to all of those whose honor and pride were injured, especially the Brazilian government and President Dilma Rousseff."
On Friday, Valcke had once again criticized Brazil's progress, saying the country is more worried about winning the World Cup that preparing for it. FIFA has repeatedly voiced its concern that stadiums and other infrastructure, such as airports, are not being built quickly enough. Among other issues, Brazilian lawmakers have balked at approving the sale of beer at games, which is illegal there.
Valcke stressed that he has no doubt that the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be held in Brazil and that he holds great respect and admiration for the nation.
According to Brazilian state run news agency Agencia Brasil, the Ministry of Sports will decide whether to accept the apology after reviewing Valcke's letter.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.