SAO PAULO (AP) — FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke expressed increasing confidence Thursday that Brazil's hosting of the 2014 World Cup will be a success even though there is still a lot of work left to get some of the stadiums completed by the December deadline established by FIFA.
Valcke made the comments in Rio de Janeiro at the end of an inspection tour at some of the 12 host cities in Brazil.
He said that FIFA is "more relaxed" regarding the progress of the country's preparations, but "definitely, there is still a lot of work to do" to make sure that the six remaining venues are delivered this year.
The secretary general said that with the tickets already on sale, there is no room for changes and Brazil will have to get all 12 venues ready.
"The turning point was on the 19th of August when we started the ticket sales," he said. "We are selling tickets for the 12 stadiums, so it means that there will be games in the 12 stadiums. The time for talking about having 11, 12 or 10 stadiums is over. We will have 12 host cities and 12 stadiums."
Valcke, the FIFA official responsible for overseeing Brazil's preparations, said that seeing the Confederations Cup take place without major glitches earlier this year gave FIFA more confidence that the World Cup will be successfully organized.
"The result of the Confederations Cup is a great result. I'm not talking about Brazil winning the Confederation Cup. I'm talking about the organization itself. The support from the fans, the fact that the stadiums were packed, that we were able to resolve any problems we have faced," Valcke said. "It gives you the comfort to say that 'yes, there will be a successful World Cup.'"
Valcke had said Wednesday that it has proven more difficult to plan the event in Brazil than in other past host nations.
The success during the Confederations Cup helped easy some of the tension.
"Yes, we are more relaxed," Valcke said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but I'm sure that it will be great for Brazil, for FIFA and for everyone involved. There is no doubt about the fact that the success will be there."