Brazil’s Senate canceled a meeting with FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke, reigniting a spat with soccer’s ruling body a month after the South American country tried to remove him as the lead representative for the planning of the 2014 World Cup.
A Senate committee overseeing preparations for the tournament said the institution needs to be represented at a hearing scheduled originally for April 11 by its President, Sepp Blatter, and not by Valcke, according to a statement on the Senate’s website today. A new hearing is still to be scheduled, the committee said in the statement.
The refusal by the lawmakers to meet the secretary general comes less than three weeks after Blatter traveled to Brasilia in a bid to reduce tensions with the host nation following earlier comments by Valcke saying that Brazil needed a “kick up the ass” to be ready in time for the event. The outburst prompted President Dilma Rousseff’s government to request Valcke to be removed as emissary of soccer’s governing body.
FIFA has grown frustrated at Brazil’s failure to pass a special law, which confirms guarantees made to the institution when the country was awarded hosting rights in 2007, including the sale of alcohol inside World Cup stadiums.
“Dilma told me the government will provide all necessary guarantees and we fully trust her and Brazil’s government that this will happen,” Blatter told reporters in Brasilia on March 16. “The issue between Brazil and Valcke belongs to FIFA and we’ll have to solve it.”
FIFA didn’t immediately respond an e-mail seeking comment on the meeting cancellation sent by Bloomberg News today.
Before being appointed FIFA president in 1998, Blatter served as general secretary for 17 years, making him responsible for the last eight World Cups.