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FIFA’s secretary Valcke hospitalized in Rio

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has been hospitalized in Rio for treatment of a urinary infection, a hospital spokesman said yesterday.

The 52-year-old Frenchman is in Brazil to inspect progress in construction of stadiums for the 2014 World Cup but was admitted late Wednesday to Samaritano hospital, the official said.

He could not say when the FIFA official would be released.

FIFA marketing chief Thierry Weil was quoted by O Globo’s news portal G1 as saying Valcke “is fine” and that his condition was not “worrying”.

The FIFA secretary general who was appointed in 2007 had planned to give a press conference and meet with members of the Brazilian World Cup organizing committee yesterday.

Weil will now speak at the press conference.

On Tuesday Valcke highlighted major delays in preparing six Brazilian stadiums for next year’s Confederations Cup, a dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup.

“Few stadiums will be delivered on time. Things need to be speeded up for the Confederations Cup,” he said.

Valcke came under scrutiny and then apologised for scathing remarks last March towards the World Cup preparations and said the host nation were more concerned by winning the World Cup rather than organising it.

“I don’t understand why things are not moving,” he said at the time. “The concern is that nothing is made or prepared to receive so many people, because the world wants to go to Brazil. I am sorry to say but things are not working in Brazil,” he said.

He added that organisers needed to give themselves “a kick up the backside” to get things ready on time.

The Confederations Cup is to be held from June 15-30, 2013, in four confirmed cities: Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, where the final and the opening games will be played respectively, as well as Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza.

FIFA is to make a final decision in November on venues depending on progress of the work on stadiums in the northern cities of Recife and Salvador.

There is concern about Recife’s Pernambucana venue, which is only 64 per cent completed eight months before the tournament opener.

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