Blatter: Brazil will be ready for World Cup
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is confident Brazil will be ready to host the World Cup in 2014.
The host nation has the opportunity to test its infrastructure ahead of the tournament when the FIFA Confederations Cup gets under way on June 15.
And Blatter believes Brazil will prove to be the perfect venue for global football's showpiece event next year. "Ask me this question after the Confederations Cup, but definitely they are ready," the 77-year-old said. "I have seen the stadia, I have seen them only on pictures and in movies, but I have to congratulate the architects in charge of these stadia - they are like jewels that they have made in the different cities, and I am very happy to be there during the Confederations Cup.
"Brazil is a powerhouse, not only a powerhouse in football, it is a powerhouse in the economy and I am sure that it will be after this World Cup as a legacy, a powerhouse in social and cultural values. "The World Cup will, in this multicultural country, connect all the people and in football there is no difference, no social level, everybody is a fan of football, everybody knows the best of the game, they are the best players, they are the best coaches and the best referees."
Blatter believes that the tournament can act as yet another milestone in the development of the global game, a subject that remains close to his heart. Speaking as the year-to-go celebrations got into full swing, he also spoke on that theme - and called upon Serbia to aid the development of football in neighbouring Kosovo as an example. During a visit to the headquarters of the Serbian FA, he insisted that there is a plan in place to encourage young people to take part in the game in the former Serbian province. "Having come to Serbia at the invitation of your Prime Minister (Ivica Dacic), I asked him to find the solidarity and a solution required by your neighbours in Kosovo to let their young players play football," Blatter stated. "Such a delicate problem can't be resolved in two hours, it has to be solved step by step but there are openings to solve it in the future.
"A timetable has been drawn up so that mechanism is in place after the end of October to induce players in the territory of Kosovo into the game. "This will require a little bit of patience and a lot of trust and confidence. At the end of October we should know exactly where we are and I am sure there will be movement towards a solution we have envisaged together."
Serbian FA president Tomislav Karadzic said he would heed Blatter's advice, but any developments would be done in tandem with the Serbian government. "FIFA's decision is reasonable because all children have the right to play football, including those in Kosovo, but it is clear that their clubs and national teams cannot be allowed to compete before they are recognised by the United Nations," he added.