AP Interview: Rebelo downplays FIFA's concerns

MARCO SIBAJA Associated Press Published:

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- Brazil's sports minister says FIFA's concerns with preparations for the 2014 World Cup are the result of cultural differences and he is confident the country is capable of hosting a great tournament.

Aldo Rebelo said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday that Brazilians had their own way of overcoming challenges and that the Europeans didn't understand it because of a "conflict of cultures."

He says "the Europeans don't quite understand the culture of the tropics."

Rebelo says the relationship with FIFA remains cordial despite the spat with Secretary General Jerome Valcke, but he won't comment on Valcke's return as the representative to work with the government until soccer's governing body makes it official.