SAO PAULO (AP) — All 12 host cities have "no choice" and "must" organize their own fanfest, was FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke's blunt warning to Brazil World Cup organizers on Thursday.
The warning comes as officials in the northeastern city of Recife reiterate they still don't know whether they will stage a fanfest, which allows fans without tickets to watch matches for free on large screens in public areas.
"The cities who have not yet committed to have their own fanfest, it's a mistake, and they have to do it, there is no choice," Valcke said after visiting the fanfest site in the northeastern city of Fortaleza. "There must be a fanfest in each of the 12 host cities in Brazil. That's a must."
Valcke stressed the fanfests are not optional, they are a requirement from FIFA. Soccer's governing body said it will not pay entirely for the events, although it was open to reducing requirements and costs to help the host cities. Some cities have already made changes because of security concerns about planned street protests.
"It's not something we are asking for, it has to be (done)," Valcke said. "And I hope that the cities who are not yet on the way to finalize their fanfest, they are just listening to what I'm saying."
FIFA claimed all cities signed contracts agreeing to the fanfests, and has threatened to sue the ones which don't stage them.