Rio De Janeiro, Jan 6 IANS | 11 months ago

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has criticised Brazil's World Cup preparations, saying organisers have no excuses for ongoing delays.


Six of the tournament's 12 host stadiums are yet to be ready for the June 12-July 13 event, while concern also surrounds the progress of work on airports, roads and hotels, Xinhua reported Monday.

"Brazil has come to realise that they started too late," Blatter was quoted telling Swiss newspaper 24 Heures. "They are the country who are the most delayed since I have been at FIFA."

"Yet they are the only country who have had such a long time - seven years - to prepare."

Blatter said he was confident the nationwide protests that tarnished last year's Confederation's Cup would not be repeated at football's showpiece event.

"I am an optimist, not a pessimist. Football will be protected. I believe that Brazilians will not attack football directly. This is the sport's home, it's a religion," he said.

"But we know there will be new demonstrations, protests. Last year, they were organised by social networks. There was no goal, but at the World Cup they will be more directed, more structured."

(Posted on 06-01-2014)