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Challenges ahead for Brazil, Valcke says

Brazil still faces major challenges to stage the 2014 World Cup, particularly with respect to transport and accommodation for the hundreds of thousands of fans, the FIFA secretary-general said yesterday.

“Your priority is to see Brazil win the World Cup, the priority of FIFA is to ensure a faultless organization of the event,” Jerome Valcke said after the opening of Soccerex, a leading convention for the global football industry.

“We must work hard to make sure that the fans receive a very good welcome,” he added, noting that the premier sporting event, which Brazil will host two years from now for the first time since 1950, will draw nearly 500,000 visitors from around the world.

Without naming it, he pointed to one of the twelve Brazilian host cities where “there are 17,000 rooms while the (local) stadium has 45,000 seats.”

“I would say that something is not quite right,” he added. “The only solution would be to put three people in the same bed.”

“We must work with that city to see when and how we are going to ferry these people from the stadium to the hotels, or to the next city where their team will play, to ensure that the airport can operate for an extended period of time with enough staff,” Valcke said.

But despite past clashes over delays in World Cup preparations, Valcke said FIFA, the Brazilian government and the Cup’s Local Organising Committee were in the process of “finding solutions.”

“We are no longer fighting each other because it is pointless. Unlike a couple, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee cannot divorce, The most important thing is to work together to find solutions to outstanding problems,” he said.

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