Brazil’s sports ministry accepted an apology from FIFA Thursday after FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said the 2014 World Cup organisers needed “a kick up the backside”. Valcke said the French phrase he used simply meant "to pick up the pace".
AFP - Brazil accepted FIFA's apologies over the World Cup 2014 'kick up the backside' controversy on Thursday, paving the way for President Dilma Rousseff to meet world football chief Sepp Blatter.
"The federal government accepts FIFA's apology and expects that this will not happen again," said a sports ministry statement.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke had caused a major rift last week when he said the organisers of the 2014 showpiece needed a "kick up the backside" to salvage various projects that had fallen behind schedule.
Sports minister Aldo Rebelo said he had sent two letters on Thursday to FIFA -- one to FIFA president Blatter and the other to Valcke.
In them, it was stated that President Rousseff would meet Blatter, although a date has yet to be confirmed.
Blatter had personally said sorry to the Brazilian government for the affair on Tuesday, one day after Valcke had been similarly contrite.
FIFA have for months expressed concern in varying degrees over the extent to which preparations -- renovation or construction of stadiums, as well as infrastructure projects -- are on track for the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950.
Valcke said he profoundly regretted that an incorrect interpretation of his comments had triggered such an angry response from the host country.
"I would like to present my apologies to everyone who was offended by my comments," said Valcke, a French national.
He explained that in French, the phrase "se donner un coup de pied aux fesses" (to give someone a kick up the backside) only meant "to pick up the pace". The translation into Portuguese used a stronger expression, he added.
"I don't understand why things are not moving. The stadiums are not on schedule anymore and why are a lot of things late?" Valcke had said last Friday.
Date created : 2012-03-08