Report: Rousseff to skip FIFA Congress

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 10, 2014 at 12:55 am •  Published: June 10, 2014
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SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil President Dilma Rousseff will not attend Tuesday's formal opening of the FIFA Congress, a meeting of the world football body's 209 members, the Sao Paulo newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo reported Monday.

The head of state or head of government traditionally addresses the meeting.

The newspaper cited unnamed sources at the presidential palaces.

FIFA has criticized Brazil over the last few years for delays in building World Cup stadiums and related road and airport projects.

Rousseff is running for re-election in October, and lavish spending on the World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics is unpopular with many in the country. Many Brazilians resent FIFA for making financial demands, though it pays few taxes in the country.

The paper said Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo would replace Rousseff who has promised — despite poor preparations — that this will be the "Cup of Cups."

In another sign of the disquiet surrounding the World Cup, neither Rousseff nor FIFA President Sepp Blatter will speak at Thursday's opening match in Sao Paulo between Brazil and Croatia. They were jeered at the opening of the Confederations Cup a year ago.

FIFA's general secretary Jerome Valcke angered Brazilians two years ago when he said the country needed a "kick in the backside" to get construction moving.

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