SportsSports Now

FIFA President Sepp Blatter is critical of World Cup delays

SportsFIFA World CupFIFA Confederations Cup

Looks like Sepp Blatter's patience with World Cup preparations in Brazil has finally run out.

In an interview with a Swiss newspaper, the FIFA president blasted organizers who have failed to meet many deadlines for stadium construction and infrastructure upgrades ahead of this summer's tournament.

"No country has been so far behind in its preparations since I have been at FIFA even though it is the only host country which has had so much time -- seven years -- in which to prepare," Blatter said.

Six of the 12 World Cup stadiums were not completed by FIFA's Dec. 31 deadline and there are growing concerns that at least two of the venues won't be ready by June 12, the date of the tournament's opening match.

In addition airports and other transportation hubs have not finished promised upgrades.

Last summer's Confederations Cup, a kind of dress rehearsal for the World Cup, was marked by massive public protests over corruption and government expenditures on the event. Those could be repeated this summer.

But Blatter said last month "this is no Plan B" and that the month-long competition will be held in Brazil, whether the country is ready or not.

"I am an optimist not a pessimist. So I am not worried," Blatter told the newspaper 24 Heures. "But we do know there will again be protests.... During the World Cup the protests will perhaps be more concrete, more organized.

"But I also believe the [soccer] will be safe. I do not believe Brazilians will attack the football directly. For them it's a religion."

ALSO:

Anze Kopitar, Jonas Hiller named to respective Olympic teams

Galaxy adds Coach Bruce Arena's son Kenny to coaching staff

MMA fighter Tito Ortiz arrested on suspicion of DUI after L.A. crash

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Comments
Loading