RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - This year’s Soccerex Global Convention has been cancelled following the withdrawal of support from the Rio de Janeiro State Government, organizers said on Tuesday.
The Rio government did not immediately confirm whether it had withdrawn its support for the Convention, a meeting of 4,500 of football’s most senior decision makers.
It was due to take place from November 30-December 5 at the Maracana Stadium in Rio ahead of the draw for next year’s World Cup in Brazil. The World Cup final will be staged at the stadium.
“It is with great disappointment that we must confirm that the final Soccerex Global Convention in Brazil will now not be taking place,” Soccerex said in a statement.
“With the ongoing civil unrest, the Rio de Janeiro State Secretary of Sport took the political decision to withdraw their support from the Soccerex Global Convention.”
“Preparations for the event at the Maracana Stadium were well advanced with content planned, speakers confirmed and partnerships in place.”
Soccerex, established in 1995, is the leading provider of business events for the global football community.
It brings together key industry decision makers from the world of football, providing a commercial environment where delegates can benefit from business opportunities.
“We are as surprised as anybody at this change of plans but we do not believe it will have any influence on the holding of the World Cup,” FIFA marketing director Thierry Weil told reporters in London.
“It’s a pity it has been cancelled it is never good when you cancel such an event but this won’t impact on the World Cup.”
Ambassador Carlos Cardim, the head of Brazil’s special advisory office on international affairs, added: ”This was not an official government conference, it is a private conference. We have very few official government conferences in Rio.
“I do not know why this has happened yet but it is a shame for all those people involved.”
Writing by Ed Osmond in London, Additional reporting by Mike Collett in London; editing by Ken Ferris