Sepp Blatter: FIFA 'totally' trusts World Cup host Brazil
ZURICH (AP) -- Despite fears Brazil won't be ready to host the 2014 World Cup, FIFA President Sepp Blatter isn't worried.
"Don't be afraid. It's all a question of trust and confidence. From the FIFA side it is totally there,'' Blatter told reporters on Tuesday after meeting with Brazil's sports minister and FIFA's World Cup organizing committee.
Persistent delays have raised doubts over Brazil's preparations for hosting the world's biggest sporting event.
Brazil has delivered only two of six stadiums so far for the Confederations Cup in June, when the eight-nation tournament will test how matches are staged. Players, officials, fans and media must also be transported around Brazil which FIFA says is more like a continent than a country.
The iconic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro - due to host the Confederations Cup final on June 30, and the World Cup final - is still being rebuilt, and has an April 27 completion deadline. Two weeks ago, a FIFA inspection visit was canceled when heavy rain flooded the construction site.
Blatter expressed faith in Brazilian soccer and government authorities.
"They will be ready because it is the World Cup and no one can afford not to be ready for the World Cup,'' he said.
After the committee session, the FIFA president and secretary general Jerome Valcke met with Brazil sports minister Aldo Rebelo. He plans to join Blatter in touring the 12 World Cup host cities during his visit for the Confederations Cup in late June.
"I am confident that we will meet the challenges and the promises that we have given,'' the minister said through a translator.
Rebelo said officials were monitoring "very, very carefully'' the situation in Sao Paulo where stadium construction funding had not been released by a bank. The Arena de Sao Paulo is scheduled to host the World Cup opening match on June 12.
The FIFA committee agreed that the 32-team World Cup final draw would be staged at 1 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Dec. 6 at Costa do Sauipe in Bahia. The date and venue had been announced last September.
The panel accepted a proposal by Russian organizers of the 2018 World Cup that the global qualifying program draw should take place in St. Petersburg on July 24 or 25, 2015.
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