Sepp Blatter optimistic on 2014 after Confederations Cup
Blatter said he was full of optimism after Brazil set the seal on an entertaining tournament, the social protests on its fringes notwithstanding, by defeating world champions Spain 3-0 in Sunday's final in Rio's revamped Maracana stadium.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Monday saluted a successful Confederations Cup, despite the event being marred by social protests, expressing confidence Brazil will deliver an outstanding World Cup next year.
"When we started the competition there was some uncertainty what would happen," admitted the head of world football's governing body, given Brazil faced a race against the clock to get stadiums ready on time and battled logistical and infrastructural problems.
The country also had to deal with the worst social unrest in more than 20 years as more than 1.5 million people took to the streets to protest a reported 15 billion dollar bill for staging the Confederations tournament and the World Cup in 12 months time.
Many Brazilians say the money would have been better spent on reviving chronically underfunded infrastructure and sagging public services including transport, health and education.
There are also fears that the country, having welcomed just eight teams to six venues over the past three weeks, still faces a major challenge in readying itself for a World Cup of 32 teams in 12 cities across the giant nation.
But Blatter said he was full of optimism after Brazil set the seal on an entertaining tournament, the social protests on its fringes notwithstanding, by defeating world champions Spain 3-0 in Sunday's final in Rio's revamped Maracana stadium.
"The legacy will be that we will have an absolutely outstanding World Cup next year, no problems," Blatter insisted, insisting that football and the Brazilian people were the winners after the Confederations event.
"I am happy and I am looking forward with optimism to next year," Blatter stressed.
He added he was pleased the protests, which began on the eve of the tournament in Sao Paulo and Rio as commuters protested hikes in transport prices, appeared to be receding.
"I am happy we come to a conclusion now with a sporting result and the impression that the social unrest is now resting - I don't know how long."
Brazilian Minister for Sport Aldo Rebelo said Brazil had made the most of the opportunity to showcase itself a year ahead of the World Cup.
"I think we have met the criteria - we are looking to promote the economy and foster social development in this country. We are not a perfect country, we are a country under construction," said Rebelo, who was candid the period leading up to the World Cup needed to see improvements.
"We have to improve the traffic and communications and airport infrastructure and public security and create a heritage for football
"Football is a platform to promote social development (but) I know there are challenges that cannot be covered 100 percent in any country in the world."
Rebelo said in the long term hosting major sporting events - a further challenge for Brazil is the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio - would boost employment and revenue.