World Cup needs legacy, says Blatter

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 31, 2011 (AFP) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter says Brazil must work to ensure the 2014 World Cup leaves a legacy, insisting the event is not a 'circus' which pitches its tent and then leaves no trace afterwards.

"The World Cup is not a circus which arrives, sticks around for a couple of weeks and then leaves town," Blatter said. "It must leave a legacy."

In a wide-ranging interview with Sunday's O Globo newspaper, a day after the draw for the 2014 tournament, Blatter said he believed Brazil would assume its responsibilities as the huge country battles to get stadiums in 12 host cities ready on time, while undertaking a huge overhaul of creaking transport infrastructure.

FIFA´s president Joseph Blatter delivers a welcome speech during the Preliminary Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, on July 30, 2011, at the Marina da Gloria, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. AFP

The five-times world champions last hosted the tournament in 1950 and Blatter recalled that he was aged just 14 when his native Switzerland managed to draw with the hosts in an era when brief highlights in cinemas were the order of the day, rather than today's wall-to-wall global televised coverage.

Blatter said he recognised the need for FIFA itself to polish an image tarnished in recent months by allegations of corruption.

"We do have to fight against different vices prevalent in our world - such as corruption, doping, discrimination, match-rigging and illegal betting," said Blatter, indicating that "to reach (our) objective we must revamp FIFA's image.

"With the image we have at the moment people don't take us seriously when we talk about fair play and respect," Blatter acknowledged.

Returning to 2014, Blatter said he could only underline the importance of the event to a country obsessed with the sport and growing apace in economic terms.

"The World Cup is the only event in the world which connects so many people - for a month the world will live and breathe football."

He confirmed that FIFA was seriously looking at the possibility of introducing technological changes by 2014, including the use of goalline technology, with systems already being tested with a view to approval at a March meeting of the sport's rule-making International Board in London.

Thereafter, FIFA would decide which system "could be used for the 2014 World Cup."

Blatter added that a decision on additional match officials would be left until after Euro 12 at an extraordinary meeting of the International Board.

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