With the Preliminary Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ just three days away, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke held a press conference on Wednesday 27 July in Rio Janeiro. Before fielding questions from the media representatives present, they restated their belief that Brazil 2014 would be a success. FIFA.com rounds up the other topics of note covered during the session.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter
On the Preliminary Draw
I’d like to thank the Organising Committee, the government of the State of Rio de Janeiro and local authorities in the city for the facilities they have put at our disposal for these three days. The FIFA World Cup brings people together like no other event in the world. On Saturday, 2,000 people will attend the draw, and some 1,000 journalists will cover it. It will be our privilege to welcome the President of Brazil, Dilma Roussef, and Pele, honorary ambassador of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Prominent figures from Brazilian culture, sport and business will also be present. During the 888 days that follow the draw, 824 matches will be played across the world, eventually providing us with the 31 teams that will join Brazil at the tournament.
With five FIFA World Cup victories, including three Jules Rimet trophies, Brazil is the most successful country in the history of the competition. The last time the event was held here was back in 1950, and 61 years later, we’re very confident that Brazil 2014 will be a triumph. There is a lot of mutual trust between Brazil and FIFA, something which was confirmed during our third meeting with the Organising Committee on Tuesday. Brazil is a football nation, and always possesses the best players in the world. But it’s also a country full of happiness and joy, and we look forward to some exciting action in 2014. As far as the stadiums and transport links are concerned, there is still some work to be done, but the Ministry of Sport as well as the President are confident everything will be ready.
We have begun to restructure our refereeing department by calling on the expertise of former Swiss referee Massimo Busacca. We set ourselves a goal in the autumn of 2010 that we would only have professional referees at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. At the beginning of March 2012, the International Board will meet to decide whether or not to adopt goalline technology. If it is proved to be accurate and affordable, then it could be introduced in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, as well as in other football associations and leagues that wish to make use of it. As regards the issue of the two additional assistant referees, this will be decided on at another IFAB meeting in the wake of UEFA EURO 2012 in July.
On the international calendar
The aim is to have the highest level of quality on the pitch in 2014. To achieve that, relevant discussions will be held within the Committee for Club Football. We will end up with a consensus. Football is a large family in which everyone listens to each other and different interests must be respected. The international calendar is the response to the problem of having tired players at the FIFA World Cup. But the interests of clubs and national associations are not the same, and we have to take both sides into account.
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke
On the tournament dates
The FIFA World Cup will begin on 12 June 2014 and end on 13 July. The FIFA Confederations Cup, meanwhile, will take place between 15 and 30 June 2013. The match schedules will be ratified by the FIFA Executive Committee when it meets on 20 and 21 October.
On the stadiums
Right now, we’re looking at using four to six stadiums for the Confederations Cup, which is a good sign as far as the progress of the work is concerned. All of the stadiums will need to be finished and ready by the beginning of 2014. We have the same concerns that we had with South Africa last time, and in the end all of the stadiums were completed in time.
We will start to work on ticket prices as soon as we have a clearer picture of how many seats will be available in each stadium. It appears likely at this stage that there will be four ticket categories, with a similar pricing structure to 2006 and 2010.