Skip to main content

FIFA's Valcke seeks support from Brazilian critic Romario

March 8, 2013 -- Updated 1502 GMT (2302 HKT)
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
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)
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
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)
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
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)
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
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)
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
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)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
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.
ADVERTISEMENT