Brazil officially submit bid to host 2014 World Cup

December 13, 2006

TOKYO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Brazil formally submitted a bid to FIFA to host the 2014 World Cup on Wednesday, hoping to bring the tournament to the country for the first time since 1950.

Ricardo Teixeira, the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) presented his country's bid to soccer's world governing body in Tokyo where he and his fellow directors are attending the Club World Cup.

"We have formally expressed out desire to stage the 2014 World Cup," Teixeira, a member of FIFA's Executive Committee, was quoted as saying on FIFA's official Web site. "It will be a unique opportunity for the Brazilian people."

FIFA will announce the host of the finals next November.

The 2014 tournament is scheduled to take place in South America as part of FIFA's continental rotation policy, but although Brazil are expected to be the only South American country to bid, it is not a foregone conclusion they will win the right to stage the event.

Last week FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that if a bid from South America did not meet FIFA's exacting requirements, the World Cup could be "moved north."

Not everyone in Brazil is convinced the country can host the finals.

Abel Braga, the coach of Internacional who reached the Club World Cup final in Tokyo on Wednesday said: "I don't think Brazil is in a position to host a World Cup.

"We don't have the infrastructure to cope with it in terms of hotels and safety. The country is not ready for it.

"That's just my personal opinion - Brazil has a lot of problems to solve before it can host a World Cup."

Critics say that only one Brazilian stadium, the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, is currently in good enough condition to host a World Cup finals match.

Public safety and transport are also serious worries.

Last week, two of Brazil's top judges became the latest victims of Rio de Janeiro's notorious criminals when they were car-jacked on the highway from the airport to the city centre.

Earlier this year, more than 200 people, including police and gangsters, were killed in Sao Paulo during a wave of attacks on banks, police posts and government offices blamed on the organised crime gang known as the First Command of the Capital.

Brazil has also been hit by crisis in air transport after the country's worst air crash on Sept. 29 in which 154 people died.

Air traffic controllers have gone on a work-to-rule which has caused hundreds of delays and cancellations.

With almost no passenger-carrying railways and a decaying highway system, Brazil depends almost exclusively on air transport for long-distance travel.

Brazil, who have won the World Cup a record five times, hosted the tournament for the only time in 1950 when it was won by Uruguay.

The next World Cup will be in South Africa in 2010.