SOCCER-FIFA-WORLD:FIFA puts executive board on World Cup organising body
REUTERS - FIFA is putting its entire executive committee on the organising body of the World Cup after fears about the progress of preparations for Brazil in 2014.
"To underline the significance of the FIFA World Cup for world football's governing body, the complete FIFA Executive Committee is now, for the first time, part of this decision-making forum which is responsible for monitoring and organising each edition of FIFA's flagship event," the body said on Wednesday.
FIFA said Danny Jordaan, chief executive of South Africa's organising committee for the 2010 World Cup, and Alexei Sorokin, head of the Russian 2018 organising committee, would also be involved.
Preparations for the tournament in Brazil have been dogged by delays in the building of stadiums and other infrastructure such as airports, local transport connections and hotels.
Those worries have been increased by plans to have teams travelling to different parts of the vast country for their group matches rather than staying in the same venue.
FIFA has also become exasperated at delays over a so-called World Cup bill which would temporarily over-ride local laws which ban the sale of alcohol in stadiums and guarantee discounted tickets for students and old-age pensioners.
FIFA confirmed that secretary-general Jerome Valcke, who infuriated Brazilians by saying local organisers needed "a kick up the backside", had taken part in a meeting of the organising committee in Zurich on Wednesday.
"Jerome Valcke attended the meeting as the person in charge of the FIFA World Cup organisation at FIFA," said soccer's governing body in a separate statement.
Brazil sports minister Aldo Rebelo had called for Valcke, who has repeatedly said that the bill should have been passed in 2007, to be replaced.
FIFA also met Jose Maria Marin, the new head of Brazil's local organising committee after Ricardo Teixeira quit citing health problems and amid allegations of corruption.
Despite the delays and political turmoil, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Brazil would organise an exceptional World Cup.
"After the re-confirmation received from President Dilma Rousseff and the Brazilian government, we are confident that despite the many tasks still to be completed by all of us, Brazil will stage an exceptional FIFA World Cup in 2014," Blatter said after the organising committee meeting.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Milan; Editing by Clare Fallon)