Soccer

Blatter: 2014 opener at Rio

2011-08-29 13:20
Sepp Blatter (Gallo)

Rio de Janeiro - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called for the opening match of the 2014 World Cup to be played at Brazil's most famous football stadium - the Maracana in Rio - and not in Sao Paulo.

"Brazilian football is Rio. And for the world, Rio is the most attractive city to open the World Cup without any doubt at all," the head of the sport's world governing body said in an interview with Sunday's edition of Estado de Sao Paulo.

"Given that the press centre and the FIFA organisation will be based in Rio, it seems that this town is the most suitable for staging the opening match."

The official announcement on where the first match of the tournament will be played will be made in October.

In the interview, Blatter lashed out at Brazilian politicians, including the president Dilma Rousseff, saying that internal disputes between "mayors, governors and the federal government" had complicated the organisation of the tournament.

"It was easier for the Brazilian football federation to work with (ex-president Luiz Inacio) Lula (da Silva) than with Dilma Rousseff," he said, refusing to expand on his comment.

The 75-year-old, who never played the game professionally, also delivered a damning judgement on the current Brazil team which will be hoping to mark the first World Cup on home soil with a sixth title.

"I followed closely the under-20s. Brazil won and I applauded them but they don't play a Brazilian brand of football...We saw what happened in 2010...Brazil lost," he said.

He also waved away the allegations of corruption that have swarmed around FIFA before and after the announcement that Russia would host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 edition.

"We have some bad losers inside FIFA," said Blatter who went on to describe "the animosity of England" since it lost the right to host the 2018 World Cup.

"Some of the senior members of FIFA have not behaved well and I have started to act. I am asking for some time. I will announce new measures on October 21."

Read more on:    fifa  |  sepp blatter
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