ASUNCION: Brazil is set to host the 2014 World Cup after all 10 South American nations voted on Monday to back the country as the continent’s only candidate.
The Finals were awarded to South America by world governing body FIFA this month and the confederation’s (CSF) decision virtually guarantees that Brazil, world champions a record five times, will host the event for the first time since 1950.
“The CSF... with the unanimous support of the 10 South American federations has resolved to give its backing to Brazil as the sole candidate to organise the football World Cup in 2014, which was awarded to South America at the last FIFA meeting,” CSF president Nicolas Leoz told reporters.
“If South America has been put forward as the only continent, it’s all done,” added Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Ricardo Teixeira.
The tournament last came to South America in 1978 when it was staged and won by Argentina, which at the time was ruled by a brutal military government.
Although Brazil’s supremacy on the pitch is uncontested, staging a World Cup will be an enormous challenge for a country still struggling to overcome enormous crime, poverty, injustice and social problems. Brazilian domestic football has suffered from chaotic administration and two years ago Teixeira was interrogated by a Congressional commission of inquiry investigating alleged mismanagement and misuse of funds in the sport.
The inquiry by the Brazilian Senate said in its final report that the CBF had accumulated huge debts after being administered in a “negligent” manner and accused Teixeira of overseeing an “administrative disaster”.
Teixeira said his country had a lot of work to do but added that the 11-year timeframe had given them a head start.
“I think people who know Brazil will appreciate that some of our stadiums need a lot of reforms but we have got a lot of time to work with and we can do this bit by bit,” he said.
“Brazil is up to the task even if there are 36 teams. We have excellent stadia and airports. Normally, countries are only awarded the World Cup six years in advance and this gives us a big advantage.”
Monday’s agreement came after a group of five Andean countries agreed to back the Brazilian proposal instead of going ahead with their own joint bid.
Last December, Peru proposed staging the competition along with Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.
“We realised that Brazil has all the merits to stage the tournament,” Walter Castedo, president of the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF), told Reuters.
“They have won the World Cup five times and they are the biggest and most powerful country on the continent. They also made a big effort to get the 2014 World Cup awarded to South America. They deserve it.”
Chile had also pondered entering a joint bid with Argentina, who showed little interest in the idea.
FIFA’s decision to award the tournament to South America was part of their plan to rotate the event between the confederations.
Asia hosted the World Cup for the first time in South Korea and Japan last year, when Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in the final.
The World Cup will return to Europe when Germany hosts the 2006 Finals, while the 2010 event will be the first to be held in Africa.
South America hosted the inaugural World Cup in 1930 when Uruguay were hosts and champions. Brazil followed 20 years later and were runners-up to Uruguay after losing 2-1 in the decisive match in one of the biggest shocks in the tournament’s history.
Chile hosted the competition in 1962 before Argentina in 1978.
The Finals have been held in Europe on nine occasions, twice in Mexico and once in the United States. – Reuters
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