- Jerome Valcke accepts work is behind schedule but insists they will be ready
- says FIFA is not responsible for the politics of World Cup host countries
- Says FIFA and Qatar are “moving in right way” over rights of construction workers
Doha - 14th March
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has told Al Jazeera says the World Cup in Brazil will “be ready despite the delays and incomplete stadiums.”
Valcke says everything will be in place by 12th June:
"Brazil has to be ready. They have no other choice. Is it going to be perfect? That’s not the point. Does it mean that all that’s been set will be ready on time? That’s not the point. The point is that whatever we need to stage the world cup will be there for you the media, for the fans, for the teams and for the officials. So yes there’s a lot of work to do. We are really close to the opening game."
Valcke accepts preparations are not going perfectly, yet there is no Plan B: Yes we need to rush. But when I say “we” it’s not FIFA only. It’s the government, its the city of Sao paulo, its the stadium of Sao Paulo and it’s the local organising committee.”
"Yes we need to make sure that all is ready. And I can confirm and I can say right in your eyes that all will be there to ensure that the world cup will be a success….our commitment, FIFA, is to make sure that this amazing event which is the world cup will be ready for all the ones who want to attend the world cup, there is no Plan B."
Valcke defended the decisions to award Russia the World Cup in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, despite criticism of their human rights and condition of workers records, saying it is not FIFA’s responsibility what’s happening in these countries:
"We should just make sure that we explain to the world and we can tell the world what are the limits that FIFA can do. Yes, the World Cup will be organised in Qatar. Yes, there are some labour issues in Qatar. Yes, FIFA can support the talks between Qatar and some unions and make sure that things can be changed in Qatar, but FIFA cannot be responsible for what’s happening in a country. FIFA cannot be responsible for duties that are not under FIFA’s umbrella. We have to be clear on that. A country that is hosting the world cup has a responsibility. It should immediately know that it will be seen by the rest of the world as how it should be the best, how it should be an example.But people should not ask FIFA to do more than it could do."
In recent months Qatar has been criticised for its treatment of migrant workers, Valcke says both FIFA and Qatar are moving in the right direction: “We are moving in the right way. I am not saying that it will change in six months, because that is not the case. It takes time, what we are talking about a long period, what we have to do is to ensure that there will be no more deaths that you will have a level of safety and security for the people who are working there which is the best. Because we cannot afford, FIFA, to be accused of every time that there is an accident that we are responsible for this accident.
Valcke says he supports the current FIFA President Sepp Blatter and says any discussion about the elections in 2015 for the top job is still too far away to speculate:
"For the moment my ambition is to focus on the organisation of the World cup. My ambition is that I am the Secretary General of Sepp Blatter and i will support Sepp Blatter and i will be behind him all the time. Whoever wants to become FIFA president, good luck. but I don’t think it is the right time there will be a time after the World Cup where we’ll be on our way to the congress 2015 which is an elective congress for the next FIFA presidency mandate. "
- Parts of the interview will be aired on Al Jazeera English on Friday 14th March at 1300GMT.
- Interview will be available online on the same day.
- Full Interview will be on Talk To Al Jazeera, date and time yet to be confirmed.