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Fifa questions Brazil as 2014 World Cup host

Joe Leahy in São Paulo and Roger Blitz in London
Thursday, 18 Jul 2013 | 4:10 AM ET
A demonstrator walks with a banner asking FIFA to go home during a protest.
Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images
A demonstrator walks with a banner asking FIFA to go home during a protest.

Brazil may prove to have been the wrong choice to host next year's World Cup if it cannot bring its protest movement under control, Fifa's head said on Wednesday.

Commenting on the protests that erupted during June's Confederations Cup – the dress rehearsal for the World Cup – Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa which organises the tournament, said Brazil needed to prevent the unrest from recurring.

(Read More: Brazil Grapples With Biggest Protest in 2 Decades)

"If this happens again in 2014, then we might have to question whether we made the wrong decision awarding the hosting rights to Brazil," he said. "However, this will not happen. I am confident that Brazil will deliver a great Fifa World Cup."

His remarks will further strain an often rocky relationship between the Brazilian government and Fifa. The two have clashed over issues ranging from late preparations for the games to the high price of tickets.

More from the Financial Times:
Dilma Rousseff's approval ratings fall as troubles mount
Fifa's tense relations with Brazil on show as protests rocknation
Pelé tells Brazilians to 'forget' protests sweeping thecountry

The government of President Dilma Rousseff is already under intense pressure to deliver difficult political and public services reforms to head off the rising discontent even as the economy is struggling.

Brazil Faces Worst Internal Unrest
NBC's Miguel Almaguer reports protesters are upset because the country has spent $26 billion to prepare for the World Cup; and CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera reports just how horrible the demonstrations have become.

Ms Rousseff faces a presidential election a few months after the World Cup, and the success or failure of the tournament will probably be decisive in her own fortunes.

"It is the right place to be," Mr Blatter said on Wednesday of Brazil. "However, I will discuss this and other issues with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in September."

Most of the important games during the Confederations Cup were characterised by mass protests. Many involved clashes with police outside the stadium, as Brazilians used the event to highlight poor public services and government waste and corruption.

(Read More: After Turkey, Brazil Hit by Widespread Protests)

At the opening match in Brasília, spectators became caught up in the turmoil on their way to the stadium. Meanwhile, inside, President Rousseff was booed by supporters, leading to an embarrassing moment as Mr Blatter tried to intercede on her behalf with the crowd.

Concerned about further incidents, she was absent from the final on June 30 but in the process missed a chance to try to grab some of the limelight from the Brazilian national team's defeat of Spain, which made Brazil champions and lifted the national mood.

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