Pele: Pan Am Games could hurt Brazil's Cup chances

April 25, 2007

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Pele warned Wednesday that a disastrous Pan American Games could hurt Brazil's chances of hosting the 2014 World Cup. "Everybody expects things to go well, but from what I hear it's not looking good right now," Pele told reporters. "It would be bad for Brazil's image, especially when it's trying to host the 2014 World Cup." Brazil is the sole candidate to host the 2014 soccer competition, which is set for South America because of FIFA's continental rotation policy. The 2010 World Cup will take place in South Africa. If Brazil fails to meet FIFA's extensive list of requirements, though, soccer's governing body can award the event to a country on another continent. Pele said he has not been in close contact with Pan American Games organizers, but that media reports regarding construction delays for the July 13-29 event have caused concerns. "Unfortunately, there is a high possibility the stadiums won't be ready in time," Pele said. "That wouldn't be a good visiting card for Brazil." With less than three months before the opening ceremony, workers have been racing to finish construction at some of the venues, although organizers guarantee everything will be finished in time.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press