In Hanover, Germany, where he is accompanying the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, Marco Aurelio Garcia, the presidency’s special advisor for international affairs raised the temperature of an escalating dispute between FIFA and Brazil, calling FIFA’s secretary general a bum and a big mouth.
The scathing verbal attack from this Sunday the Brazilian top official is just another chapter in a novel that has been going on for months between the leaders of the Federation Internationale de Football Association and the Brazilian organizers of the World Cup to be held from June 12 to July 13, 2014.
Brazil was announced as host country for the next Soccer World Cup on October 30, 2007, after Argentina and Colombia withdrew their applications and united around Brazil, which run opposed to the hosting privilege.
“The FIFA’s interlocutor is already burned,” said Garcia. “This guy is a bum! He’s a big mouth. He did not create a problem for us: he created a problem for FIFA.”
Garcia also used the opportunity to snipe at Valcke who is French: “The French never got along during the colonialism in Brazil.”
The presidential aide concluded that Brazilians will do all the needed work “our way”.
Garcia’s latest reaction was in response to FIFA’s secretary general Jerome Valcke who complained in Britain that very little was moving in Brazil in preparation for the Cup and he made the point that the organizers needed a “kick up the ass.”
The president’s aide was particularly incensed with the language used by the FIFA official and accused him of “biting his tongue”: “It doesn’t seem to me that the word ass (cul in French) is a diplomatic word even if you translate it to backside.
Valcke had told journalists: “I don’t understand why things are not moving. The stadiums are not any more on schedule and why are a lot of things late? In 2014 we will have a World Cup. The concern is nothing is made or prepared to receive so many people because the world wants to go to Brazil.
“I am sorry to say but things are not working in Brazil. You expect more support – there are these endless discussions about the World Cup bill. We should have received these documents signed by 2007 and we are in 2012. You have to push yourself, kick your ass and just deliver this World Cup and that is what we will do.”
He added: “You don’t have enough hotels everywhere. You have more than enough in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but if you think about Manaus you need more. Let’s say in Salvador you have England versus Holland and you have 12% of the stadium English fans and 12% Holland – that’s 24% of 60,000 fans. The city is nice, but the way to go to the stadium and all the organization of transportation has to be improved.”
Valcke made it also clear that there is “no plan B” for an alternative host even though FIFA might cut Brazil from hosting the competition without paying any penalty until June 1 of this year.
Valcke’s complaints were made Friday. On Saturday, furious the secretary general comments, Brazil’s Sports minister, Aldo Rebelo informed that Brazil would no longer recognize Valcke as a spokesman for FIFA.
“The government will no longer accept the secretary general as FIFA spokesman,” the minister announced adding that the comments were “impertinent,” “inappropriate” and “offensive” and said it was hard to understand how they could help foster cooperation between Brazil and FIFA.
Rebelo told reporter he intended to contact FIFA president Sepp Blatter to inform about his decision not to talk to Valcke anymore. “I hope he will understand,” the minister added. He bluntly said Valcke would not be received by him were he to come to Brazil.
The secretary general promptly reacted to the Sports minister calling his reaction of refusing to talk to him as puerile. He suggested Brazil should care of the problems that caused his complaints and confirmed he would still travel to Brazil for Cup business later this month.