Sao Paulo: Brazil's senate will make another invitation to FIFA president Sepp Blatter to visit the country to discuss passage of a vital World Cup bill after he initially asked secretary general Jerome Valcke to go instead.
The senate wants Blatter to speak to a congressional commission which is debating a contentious bill that gives FIFA the needed guarantees to organize the World Cup. Among the issues in the bill is changing the law to allow alcohol sales in stadiums.
The commission was scheduled to meet next week, but the senate's press office said Monday the date is likely to be postponed.
If Valcke comes, it would be his first visit to Brazil since his harsh comments over the country's slow preparations ignited a spat with the local government.
FIFA did not immediately return an email message requesting confirmation of Valcke's visit, and it remained unclear if the secretary general would also travel to inspect host cities preparing for the World Cup and next year's Confederations Cup. Valcke's planned visit last month was canceled after his complaints prompted Brazil's Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo to tell FIFA that the government was going to cut ties with Valcke.
Blatter and Valcke apologized to Brazil, but the FIFA president said recently that Valcke would remain the person in charge of working with the local government to prepare Brazil for football's showcase event.
Although the Brazilian government accepted the apologies, some congressmen openly said that they would rather see the government dealing with someone other than Valcke.
Rebelo was invited to speak to the congressional commission on the same day as Valcke but the minister said that he would not be able to make it because of other commitments.
Valcke told Brazil last month that, "You have to push yourself, kick your (backside)," to get preparations going. His words angered many in the country, including congressmen who made it more difficult for the government to approve the bill in the lower house.
Three senate commissions are expected to debate the bill before it goes to the floor for voting, which is not expected to happen before next week.
The proposed law gives FIFA the legal and financial guarantees to organize the event, and football's governing body wants it approved as soon as possible to keep preparations on track.
Valcke had said FIFA wanted the law in place by the end of March, but the controversy over the sale of alcohol helped delay the vote. Alcohol is not allowed inside Brazilian stadiums but FIFA demands legislation is changed because Budweiser is a major World Cup sponsor. FIFA said Brazil agreed to change its law when it accepted to host the tournament in 2007.
Although text which specifically authorizes the sale of alcohol was removed to expedite approval of the bill in the lower house, the government said the proposed law has other articles that ensure Brazil fulfills all of its commitments made in the hosting agreement.