Vote on key World Cup bill delayed again in Brazil

TALES AZZONI AP Sports Writer Published:

SAO PAULO (AP) -- Voting on a key bill regulating the 2014 World Cup has been delayed at least until next week because the Brazilian government wasn't able to secure enough support in Congress.

The delay on Wednesday was not directly related to the World Cup bill, but some of the congress members decided not to vote on it to pressure the government on other legislation.

The government's inability to get the congressional support needed to approve the World Cup bill may further displease FIFA, which last week received guarantees from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff that the government would fulfill all of its commitments to organize the event.

The government had said Tuesday that it had reached a deal in Congress to advance the bill to the Senate, but the agreement fell through because of pressure to vote on a forest law that has to go under consideration by the Senate.

Members of congress from the opposition and from part of the ruling base want the government to agree on a date to have the forest law voted on by the Senate.

"I need some time until next week to allow the government to prepare its base and then try a deal with the opposition to advance the forest law and the World Cup bill," House leader Marco Maia said. "Once we have the deal for the forest law, we will immediately vote on the World Cup bill."

The proposed World Cup law had been delayed several times already. After making it through the lower house, it will still have to be voted on by the Senate before reaching Rousseff for her signature.

FIFA says the bill is crucial because it gives football's governing body all the financial and legal guarantees it needs to organize the World Cup and next year's Confederations Cup.

The sticking point was legislation on the sale of alcohol inside stadiums, which currently is prohibited in Brazil but is a demand from FIFA because Budweiser is a major World Cup sponsor.

Text which specifically authorized the sale of alcohol was removed from the bill on Tuesday to expedite its approval, but the proposed law contains other articles that ensure Brazil will fulfill all of its commitments in the World Cup hosting agreement, including the one related to alcohol sales.

FIFA says Brazil accepted to change its legislation when it was picked as World Cup host in 2007. Critics say Brazil is giving too much power to FIFA, but the Brazilian government last week reiterated that it would abide to its requirements in a meeting between Rousseff and FIFA President Sepp Blatter in the nations' capital.

Brazilian football federation president Jose Maria Marin said the new delay will not affect Brazil's World Cup preparations and that he was confident that the proposed law will eventually be approved.

"I have no doubt that the congressmen, regardless of their parties, will understand our commitments and will be thinking about what is best for Brazil, and what is best for Brazil is to host a great World Cup," Marin said.

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