President Rousseff blames FIFA for massive bill

Brasilia: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has defended her government's preparations to host the World Cup, the target of criticism over chronic delays and soaring costs.

Dilma Rousseff. Pic/Getty Images
Dilma Rousseff. Pic/Getty Images 

As Brazil rushes to finish stadiums and deal with a wave of protests ahead of the June 12 kick-off, Rousseff partly blamed FIFA for the spiralling World Cup bill but said the money spent would leave a positive legacy.

The leftist leader, who is seeking reelection in October, said FIFA had assured Brazil that host stadiums would be built with private money.

But the government eventually realised private-sector investment would not even cover "half a stadium," and provided most of the financing itself, Rousseff told journalists at a dinner on Tuesday at the presidential residence here.

Responsibility matrix
She said she would advise future host countries to "be very careful about the 'responsibility matrix'" they sign with FIFA. But she insisted that the vast majority of public spending related to the tournament was "for Brazil" over the long-term and not limited to the World Cup.

She said hosting the tournament had spurred many cities to undertake badly needed public transport projects — though she acknowledged many of them would not be completed before the World Cup.

The Brazilian government has faced a wave of protests over more than $11 billion it is spending on the tournament.

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