Blatter: Valcke to keep WCup preparations role

TALES AZZONI AP Sports Writer Published:

SAO PAULO (AP) -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Secretary General Jerome Valcke will remain in charge of 2014 World Cup preparations despite a recent dispute with Brazil's government.

Blatter said Monday that Valcke will retain all of his FIFA duties, including working with the Brazilian government to organize the tournament.

Valcke's role had been in doubt after his harsh remarks about the country's slow preparations ignited a spat between the government and soccer's governing body.

After meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday, Blatter said he needed more time to decide whether Valcke would remain FIFA's representative to deal with the government.

"There is no problem between the FIFA president and the FIFA secretary general," Blatter said in statement sent to The Associated Press. "Jerome Valcke is in charge of all of his activities as secretary general, including the preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil."

The Brazilian government said it would not immediately comment because it had not received an official communication from FIFA about Valcke's role.

Blatter asked to meet with Rousseff in Brazil when apologizing for Valcke's remarks, but said the issue was not discussed in detail with the Brazilian president. Valcke's inspection visit to Brazil last week had been canceled until Blatter met with Rousseff.

The Brazilian government officially accepted Valcke's apology, but officials still preferred to have someone else from FIFA work with the government.

Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo had labeled Valcke's remarks on March 2 as "unacceptable, offensive and inappropriate." He added that the government had told FIFA it was cutting ties with Valcke, who no longer was welcome in Brazil.


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