Tokyo - FIFA president Sepp Blatter plans to meet with Brazil's head of
state to discuss concerns over the country's preparations for the 2014
Soccer World Cup.
FIFA officials have repeatedly said preparations for
Brazil 2014 are behind schedule. FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke
has told Brazilian lawmakers that the pace had to be stepped up, saying
"we are late, we can't lose a day."
Blatter expressed his concerns
on Saturday following a meeting of FIFA's Executive Committee on the
sidelines of the 2011 Club World Cup.
"The executive committee is
worried about that," Blatter said. "I will myself take up the World Cup
in a presidential level and in the first or second month of next year I
will go and meet the head of state."
Valcke reported on the status
of preparations for the 2014 World Cup during the December 16-17 meetings
in Tokyo and noted that the general World Cup Bill, which comprises the
necessary government guarantees regarding the organization of the event,
has yet to be enacted by the relevant authorities.
"Clearly, we are concerned that we have not received the confirmation of the general World Cup Bill," Blatter said.
also said that Ricardo Teixeira, the 2014 World Cup organising
committee president, has asked for a leave of absence until the end of
"Mr. Teixeira has asked for a leave of absence until the
end of January so he is out of FIFA and the 2014 organising committee
until the end of January," Blatter said.
Blatter also reiterated
his desire to publish a document naming soccer officials who took
millions of dollars in kickbacks from World Cup broadcast deals.
BBC has reported that the document implicates former FIFA president
Joao Havelange and Teixeira. Havelange resigned as an IOC member earlier
FIFA postponed the publication of the document
because "legal measures taken" by a party involved in the 10-year-old
ISL scandal prevented it from releasing the court papers during the
executive committee meetings in Tokyo.
"The executive committee
and myself would like to open the file as quickly as possible," Blatter
said. "FIFA needs to lay the ISL issue to rest, it's unfortunate we
can't open it now but I am hoping the Swiss court will allow us to open
the file in early 2012. We cannot go to the past, we can only clarify
FIFA also announced the list of members of the Independent
Governance Committee, a committee aimed at cleaning up world soccer's
governing body and headed by Basel University professor Mark Pieth.
list has nine members including Sunil Gulati, president of the US Soccer Federation. Non-soccer members include Michael Hershman,
President and CEO of the Fairfax Group, and Peter Goldsmith, who served
as Attorney General in the United Kingdom from 2001-2007.
October executive committee meeting, Blatter said the panel would
consist of up to 18 people, half from soccer, half from politics, law
and civil society.
In other developments, FIFA decided that the
2013 and 2014 editions of the Club World Cup would be held in Morocco
after the 2012 tournament in Japan.