Brazil says Blatter apologizes over Valcke remarks

TALES AZZONI AP Sports Writer Published:

SAO PAULO (AP) -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter has apologized for remarks made by Secretary General Jerome Valcke about Brazil's preparations for the 2014 World Cup, the country's government said on Tuesday.

Blatter apologized in a letter to the government on Monday, a day after Valcke sent his own apology.

The government officially informed FIFA that it would no longer deal with Valcke after he said: "You have to push yourself, kick your (backside)" to speed up the country's preparations.

It remained unclear whether the government would accept the apologies and change its position regarding Valcke.

The government says Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo would first answer the letters from FIFA officials before making his decision public.

In a letter released by the sports ministry, in Portuguese, Blatter expressed his "deepest regret" about the situation.

"I'm extremely worried about the deterioration of the relationship between FIFA and the Brazilian government," he said. "My only comment regarding this subject is to apologize to everyone who may have had their honor and their pride hurt, especially the Brazilian government and President Dilma Rousseff."

Blatter said Brazil and FIFA have "a goal in common" and must "work together" to organize an "extraordinary World Cup in the country of football, in the country of champions."

He said that Brazil deserves to host the World Cup which everyone is anxiously awaiting, but warned that "time is passing by" since the country was picked to host football's showcase event in 2007.

"We shouldn't let conflicts make us lose time," he said. "Instead, let's work together to build something bigger, as promised by (former) President (Luiz Inacio) Lula (da Silva) during his term."

Blatter, who is in Bangladesh to discuss football with national federation officials, said he hopes to be able to meet with Rousseff next week in Brazil.


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