‘It takes ‘FIFA Samba’ to host Brazil WCup’

SAO PAULO, Nov 30, (AP): It takes a different kind of FIFA to organize the World Cup in a country such as Brazil. Secretary general Jerome Valcke calls it “FIFA Samba.”
Valcke said Friday the governing body had to change to be able to handle the complex task of hosting the World Cup in the continent-sized country. He says FIFA “became more flexible.”
Valcke said many of the challenges in Brazil are similar to the ones in South Africa, and are likely to be repeated when the World Cup goes to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
He also said his criticism of Brazil’s preparations earlier this year had marked a turning point in the relationship between FIFA and the government, and that he doesn’t think next year’s Confederations Cup will be “a real rehearsal of the World Cup.”
On the eve of the Confederations Cup draw in Sao Paulo, Valcke said FIFA quickly realized that it needed a different approach to dealing with Brazil’s complex government structure and the intricacies of the country.
He said the need to change became clear when FIFA paid a visit after Brazil won the right in 2007 to host the World Cup - and heard a worrisome message from the future hosts.
“We arrived in Brazil saying, ‘OK, we know how to organize the World Cup, that’s us,’” he said. “And Brazil was saying, ‘Sorry, sorry, we know what’s football and you will not tell us how to make it.”
FIFA knew it would need to adapt to make it work.
“Then we became a FIFA Samba,” he said. “We become more flexible.”

He said it was hard to deal with Brazil’s three levels of governments to get projects under way, as each level - the federal, state and municipal - is responsible for a different area.
“In one meeting you have three different meetings, your work is a bit more difficult,” Valcke said. “When you give a World Cup seven years in advance, you never think about that, I’m not talking about us, but most of the people, they don’t think about this, they say, ‘Oh, we have seven years, it’s more than enough.’” Valcke said his harsh criticism of Brazil’s preparations at the beginning of the year forced both sides to try to find a way to move forward.
“Due to my words we reached a level where we were going nowhere,” Valcke said.
“My words created a war in a way,” he said. “It took time. It took a long, long time to digest what I said. I have to recognize that Brazil did a lot, it came a long way to say, ‘OK, let’s meet all of us, sit around the table and see how it works.’”
He said the parties moved on and the relationship improved significantly, as did the country’s preparations.



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