FIFA not making 'fast buck'

Jerome Valcke (AFP)
Jerome Valcke (AFP)

Rio de Janeiro - The Soccer World Cup may continue to attract public protests in Brazil, but FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke insisted on Thursday that football's governing body does not have its hand in the host nation's pocket.

"FIFA is not using any public money; FIFA is not using any money from Brazil," Valcke insisted.

Brazil has seen months of protests against the cost of tournament with many citizens believing the estimated $11 billion spend has come at the expense of urgent investment in poor public services.

FIFA has itself been a regular target for protesters who believe the organisation hopes to make a fast buck from the extravaganza.

But in a video on FIFA's website Valcke insisted the game's world body was contributing major investment by injecting some $800 million into the staging costs.

"There will be a legacy, as was the case in Germany in 2006, for the country," he added.

"The country ... will add intrastructure and the potential to welcome a lot more tourists."

Valcke criticised Brazil last year, as did FIFA president Sepp Blatter, over the slow pace of construction work which has left three of 12 venues still not ready with just three months to go.

But he rejected any suggestion FIFA, which says the event will cost it around $1.3 billion including prize-money, was seeking to make money on Brazil's back.

"FIFA is not asking for any financial support from the Brazilian authorities. Whatever is spent by the cities, by the government, will remain within the country.

"It will not be taken away from the country by FIFA when we fly away from Brazil on the 14th of July after the final" but benefit inhabitants of the host cities, said Valcke.

Support for the protests, but also for the event itself, has been slipping among Brazilians.

A poll last month showed 63 percent oppose protests during the tournament but also put Cup support down at 52 percent from an initial 79 percent.

Valcke, who conceded demonstrations might hit the Cup, said his aim was clear.

"My goal is to make sure that, altogether, Brazil, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee give to this world this diamond," he concluded.

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