Brazil wins solo race
2014 World Cup in South America
Brazil was chosen yesterday to play host to the 2014 World Cup, and organizers immediately were questioned about the country's ability to provide infrastructure and security for the event.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Confederacao Brasileira de Futebol president Ricardo Teixeira defended the decision.
"We had the same questions when we decided for the  Cup in South Africa," Blatter said. "Now we are getting them again for Brazil. A little respect for soccer, for the institutions, for FIFA, thanks very much."
Teixeira referred to shootings in the United States and England, and compared the peaceful Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro with a conflict involving the Canadian Mounted Police and Chileans at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup last summer.
"I believe the problem of violence is an international problem," Teixeira said. "I look at the US, youngsters shooting guns in the schools. At least in Brazil we don't have this.
"And then there are countries which are supposed to be very secure, where the police kill innocent people [a Brazilian was shot in the London subway two years ago]. The problem of violence is not only Brazilian. Recently, we had the case of a delegation in Canada that was assaulted by the Canadian police, but I have the absolute conviction that this is something that could have happened in any other country."
Teixeira said Brazilian military and security forces can defuse potentially dangerous situations.
"In the Pan American Games, we have an example of this," Teixeira said. "We had nothing happen in Rio de Janeiro."
Brazil was the only country bidding for 2014 after Colombia dropped out. The Brazilian delegation to Zurich included president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, novelist Paulo Coelho, and retired players Dunga (now coach of the national team) and Romario.
Coelho said the World Cup "is going to change the country; it is going to unveil another country to the world - a country that needs to be unveiled. It is going to change everything."
The World Cup, he said, "can reveal the creativity, the ability to work together and to make Brazil an ever better nation. That will motivate Brazil to unify all its forces."
South American countries played host to the World Cup in 1930 (Uruguay), 1950 (Brazil), 1962 (Chile), and 1978 (Argentina). Brazil is the only country to have participated in all 18 World Cup finals, but it failed to win the title at home, losing to Uruguay (2-1) in the 1950 title game at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
"Brazil is the country that does the most for soccer," UEFA president Michel Platini said. "It's the country that has won the most World Cups [five] and where the most great players come from. A World Cup in Brazil is like a pilgrimage to Mecca, or Santiago de Compostela, or even to Jerusalem.
"The same thing could be said about the choice of South Africa for 2010 and Ukraine, host for the 2012 European Championship. The organizers of big events can make things progress. The World Cup will be in developing countries. If we were to choose only rich countries, we would be limited to four or five, and we would never go to countries that also deserve it. With South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014, FIFA made two big decisions."
FIFA also awarded the 2011 Women's World Cup to Germany and cleared the way for a possible return of the men's World Cup to the United States in 2018 by ending the policy of rotating the event among continents. Bidding for the 2018 World Cup will involve all confederations, except Africa and South America. The competition for the US bid likely will come from England.
FIFA announced that first place for the Club World Cup, scheduled Dec. 7-16 in Japan, will be worth $5 million, of $16 million in total prize money.
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at email@example.com.