(ATR) The FIFA president will hope a successful World Cup can provide a boost for his likely presidential campaign.
The 77-year-old has failed to keep the Brazil 2014 organisers from falling behind schedule over the past 18 months, despite setting up a FIFA watchdog to oversee preparations. He’s put faith in Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff to deliver on her government’s promises. The Swiss has made the odd critical remark about Brazil in recent months, but has left his No.1 Jerome Valcke to troubleshoot the project. Valcke’s frustrations have grown as Brazil 2014 languishes further behind.
The remaining stadia are still to be finished - opening venue Sao Paulo has a mid-April completion date – and there are ongoing concerns that Brazil’s creaking transport infrastructure won’t cope with the hordes of football fans traveling between the 12 host cities. Costly accommodations for visitors to Brazil have irked FIFA and Rousseff, as hotels seek to exploit the World Cup for their own gain.
Security concerns and the spectre of anti-government protests are also front of mind for FIFA, the government and law enforcement agencies.
If these issues are effectively dealt with, Blatter and Brazil can look forward to a carnival atmosphere around the 64-match tournament. If not, the World Cup, like the Confederations Cup that was mired by violent protests, may end up being remembered for all the wrong reasons.
A largely glitch-free World Cup would send a strong message to the IOC and the world that Brazil is on course to deliver a memorable Rio 2016 Olympics.
For Blatter, who is keen to run for re-election as FIFA president in 2015, a successful Brazil tournament would be the perfect launchpad for his campaign to secure a fifth term at the helm of world football.
Blatter has been an IOC member since 1999, a year after he took the reins at FIFA.
2013 ranking: Not ranked
Reported by Mark Bisson
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