Blatter orders Brazil to speed up

GENEVA - FIFA president Sepp Blatter warned Brazil on Monday that they needed to speed up preparations to host the 2014 World Cup.

"I would like to tell my Brazilian colleagues about the 2014 World Cup, it's tomorrow, the Brazilians think it's just the day after tomorrow," he told reporters.

"We are hoping for a little good faith, things are not advancing very quickly."

Brazil's Sports minister Orlando Silva replied by inviting Blatter to the South American country to see the work going on for himself.

"I'm convinced he'll be reassured that Brazil will stage a very good World Cup," Silva told a news conference in Sao Paulo.

"We have 10 of the 12 stadiums with work going full steam ahead, we're confident the majority of the stadiums will be handed to FIFA within the deadline agreed with them."

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) put on its website a statement that FIFA issued after a meeting this month with the World Cup organising committee in which Blatter praised its commitment to hosting the tournament.

Blatter on Monday compared Brazil's preparations unfavourably with 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa's at the same stage four years ago.

"If Brazil keeps going like this there will not be matches in Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo at the Confederations Cup," he said.

The Confederations Cup is held the year before the World Cup in the same country and is used as dress rehearsal for the main stadiums.

Blatter added that because of discussions between Brazilian politicians, it was not clear where this year's draw for the qualifying competition - originally scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro in July - would be held.

CORRUPTION SCANDAL

Blatter also reiterated his belief that goalline technology could be used in 2014 and said he would make an important announcement about the fight against corruption at the FIFA Congress in June where he stands for re-election.

Blatter faces a challenge from Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed Bin Hamman for the FIFA presidency.

"I will present something very special there (at FIFA Congress in June) but I will not now disclose the contents - it is to fight corruption, all cheating and discrimination," he said.

FIFA was rocked by a corruption scandal last year when two executive committee members were banned for offering to sell their votes in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting contest to undercover newspaper reporters.

Blatter rejected suggestions that FIFA should allow external investigations into its affairs.

"It would be like Switzerland asking France or Germany or Italy to vote for them when they elect the federal council," he said.

Blatter, 75 and FIFA president since 1998, also dismissed suggestions he should make way for a younger man.

"Age is not a question of a number of years, it's a question of what you are able to do," he said. "It is the FIFA Congress which will decide whether I am too old or not."

He also reflected on how FIFA had grown since he joined as a development officer 36 years ago.