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FIFA: Busy days ahead of finals

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

SAO PAULO - FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has arrived in Brazil to oversee the final preparations for the World Cup, saying he expects "busy days ahead" to make sure everything is ready in time.

The FIFA official in charge of the tournament arrived a day after Brazil held the last two test events at its delayed stadiums, including at the Sao Paulo venue that will host the opener in a few weeks.

Valcke said he will visit all 12 host cities again "to see that the finishing touches" are completed in time.

He said FIFA's operational teams had "begun fanning out to the venues" for the final installations.

In his latest column on, the secretary general also criticised headlines "screaming that Brazilians don't want the World Cup," saying he is sure that there is widespread support for the tournament in Brazil.

Brazil had seven years to get ready for the World Cup but a lot of the work remains incomplete ahead of the June 12 opener between Brazil and Croatia.

"We have busy days ahead of us with still a lot to be done," Valcke said on Monday, calling for "a collective effort" by FIFA, the local World Cup organising committee and the local governments.

Valcke is expected to begin his tour of host cities in Sao Paulo, where the Itaquerao Stadium held its first — and final — official test event on Sunday.

Local organisers acknowledged there were some problems but expressed satisfaction with the overall results.

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