Rio de Janeiro: Deadly violence in Rio which saw tourist areas turned into battle grounds does not affect Brazil’s hosting of the World Cup, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Thursday.
Rio, which will stage seven matches including the July 13 final, was the scene Tuesday of angry protests and clashes between residents of a slum district a short walk from the popular Copacabana Beach and police.
Trouble broke out after a dancer was found dead, with friends and family alleging he was shot by police. In the ensuing protests, a 27-year-old man was fatally shot.
“It is a tragic episode which causes sadness but it is not sufficient to say the Cup is at risk,” Valcke told reporters.
“I have received several messages asking me if there is a civil war in Brazil and I have replied no,” added Valcke, speaking in the northern city of Fortaleza.
He winds up his latest check on Brazil’s World Cup preparations in Rio on Friday.
Earlier Thursday, FIFA announced there would be 12 World Cup fan fests, including the northern city of Recife, where authorities had previously said it would not go ahead on cost and security grounds.
Fan fests — huge street parties for ticketless fans — proved successful on their launch at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and continued in South Africa in 2010.
Brazil’s 12 host cities were committed to hosting the parties during the June 12 to July 13 tournament, but in February Recife said it would not hold one owing to the cost.
Some officials are also fearful that the venues could become focal points for protests of the kind that marred last year’s Confederations Cup.
FIFA’s director of marketing, Thierry Weil, had insisted on all 12 venues hosting an event, giving free admission to “secure, family-friendly locations” where both local and international fans can watch matches.
Valcke inspected the Iracema beach fan fest venue in the northern city of Fortaleza, accompanied by Local Organization Committee member Ronaldo.
“Fortaleza has a fantastic location for the FIFA Fan Fest,” said Valcke.
“Standing on the beach this morning it was hard to imagine that in less than six weeks’ time, tens of thousands of football fans will be celebrating the FIFA World Cup here.”