Valcke: A sense of excitement
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Following the conclusion of this year’s tour of the 12 Host Cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and 2012’s final meeting of the Brazil 2014 LOC Management Board, representatives from the LOC, FIFA and the Brazilian government held a press conference this Wednesday at the Anhembi in Sao Paulo – the setting for Saturday’s draw for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013.

Amid the discussions surrounding the different organisational aspects that relate to the two showpiece events, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke had some good news to announce: world football’s governing body has handed the Brazilian government a batch of 50,000 tickets for matches at Brazil 2014, to be distributed free of charge among the country’s indigenous population and families that qualify for the Programa Bolsa Família – a social welfare programme aimed at low-income families.

Here are some of the main topics from today’s press conference:

On the 50,000 tickets aimed at Brazil’s indigenous population and the Programa Bolsa Família

“We know how much interest the FIFA World Cup generates and how passionate Brazilians are about football, and that’s why we made those 50,000 tickets available. Now it’s the turn of the federal government to ensure that those tickets get into the hands of the indigenous population and those Brazilians receiving assistance from the Programa Bolsa Família,” FIFA Secretary General, Jerome Valcke.

“We’re immensely grateful. It’s a highly significant gesture for our country and our people, who love football. Football is a great platform for social inclusion and for the valorisation of our people, which is why it’s loved so much. We are fully aware how limited tickets are, because the whole planet wants to go to a World Cup. So, when we’re given this batch by FIFA for the poorest section of our population, we view that as a beautiful tribute to the country of football,” Brazilian Minister of Sport, Aldo Rebelo.

On visits to the Host Cities and the state of preparations

“Over the course of this week we’ve had another demonstration of how FIFA, the LOC and the federal government are working side-by-side and are fully integrated – driving towards the success of this endeavour which to our eyes is looking more and more solid by the day,” LOC Chairman Jose Maria Marin.

“Today we concluded our visit to the Host Cities and, once again, it was exciting to witness the infectious enthusiasm of those working on the construction of the stadiums. Now we’ve got to concern ourselves with how best to welcome the tourists and international media that will visit us, because the stadiums have now been made reality. My impression is that I was right from the start to be optimistic about Brazil’s hosting the World Cup. But as a player, I didn’t have the slightest idea just how much work is involved in organising a World Cup,” LOC Management Board member Ronaldo.

“The World Cup is now a reality. With every Management Board meeting we take part in, the happier we feel, particularly after visiting the stadiums and seeing their progress, as well as in the host cities. All of this is the fruit of us all – FIFA, the LOC and the government – pulling together in the same direction: towards the hosting of an immensely successful World Cup,” LOC Management Board member Bebeto.

“I can’t speak for you all but I myself, in these surroundings, in such a large auditorium, already get the sense that there’s a great event on the way. Personally speaking, I’m very excited. It’s been a very interesting year, during which we’ve had to work very hard, and it was gratifying to round off the tour of visits with Sao Paulo and their incredible stadium, as well as the incredible development project that accompanies it,” Jerome Valcke.

On the issue of security in Sao Paulo

“The Brazilian government made a commitment to us that they would handle the issue of security during the FIFA World Cup and we believe in them. This was a subject which we had to address all the way through the organisational process of the World Cup in South Africa. So, the fact it is being raised now, 20 months ahead of the World Cup, it’s not something that surprises us. We’re certain that the Brazilian government is more than strong enough to take care of this issue and that it’s on the agenda of President Dilma Rousseff,” Jerome Valcke.

“Preventative measures have already been taken jointly between the Sao Paulo state government and the federal government, which is available to help Sao Paulo in any way necessary to guarantee people’s security, and not just during the World Cup, but on a daily basis,” Aldo Rebelo.