Blatter, Rousseff brush off World Cup problems

Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:44pm EST
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff brushed off concerns about their troubled World Cup preparations after meeting FIFA's Sepp Blatter on Thursday, reiterating that her country would stage the "Cup of Cups".

Blatter, president of world soccer's governing body, also dismissed worries over Brazil's problems, saying all that was needed were "a few touch ups".

Their meeting at FIFA headquarters came two days after officials in Curitiba, one of the 12 World Cup venues, were given until February 18 to prove they can get their stadium ready or risk exclusion from the tournament.

The Arena da Baixada was supposed to be ready in December but, like five other grounds, it is behind schedule.

Airports and public transportation are also a huge problem as Brazil prepares to host the tournament for the first time since 1950.

Blatter and Rousseff both read statements in which they discussed initiatives to combat racism, promote peace and strengthen women's football in Brazil.

These included, according to Blatter, the release of a bird of peace before the opening ceremony.

However, the pair largely avoided going into detail on the issues regarding World Cup preparations.   Continued...

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (L) greets FIFA President Sepp Blatter during a visit at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Hodel