Russia is already
better prepared to host the 2018 World Cup than Brazil, which
will stage the 32-team football extravaganza in 2014, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said on Friday.
"I can tell you that we are far, far advanced [in Russia].
Even, I would say, we have more problems actually in Brazil
than... here," Blatter told a news conference.
Blatter said last month that the South American country
still had problems with airports, roads and public transport.
Later on Friday, Blatter backtracked, saying he had received
an encouraging report from FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke
about progress in Brazil's preparations for the 2014 finals.
"I received a very encouraging report from FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke after his visit to Brazil this week. In
this context, I would like to reiterate we are convinced Brazil
will organise a fantastic FIFA World Cup 2014 on schedule," a
FIFA statement in Portuguese quoted Blatter as saying.
"In my comment earlier in Russia - which led to some
misunderstandings - I was referring to the excellent
preparations in Russia up to the moment, since they are ahead of
schedule for the FIFA World Cup 2018," he said.
"Regarding Brazil, I am very satisfied with the strong
commitment in the last few days by the Brazilian government
under the leadership of Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and I am
anxious for us to continue on our walk together towards 2014."
Russia won the right to stage the sports' biggest event for
the first time when it beat England and joint bids from
Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands in December 2010.
Blatter and UEFA chief Michel Platini were visiting St
Petersburg to celebrate the centenary of the Russian Football
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