Romario: FIFA and government deceiving Brazilians

TALES AZZONI AP Sports Writer Published:

SAO PAULO (AP) -- Romario criticized Brazil's World Cup preparations again on Sunday, saying FIFA and the local government are misleading the Brazilian people by saying the nation will host the greatest tournament of all time.

The former Brazil star turned congressman said the meeting between FIFA head Sepp Blatter and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday shouldn't be taken seriously and that Brazilians may be disappointed with how the World Cup turns out.

"It was a shame to read the newspapers and see that the federal government has united with FIFA to make the greatest World Cup of all time," Romario posted on his Facebook page. "It's a troublesome lie. It won't be the greatest and we will be embarrassed.

"The federal government is deceiving the people. President Dilma is being deceived or is letting people deceive her," he said.

Blatter agreed with the Brazilian government's assessment of the Cup preparations after Friday's meeting and said he was confident that the country would host "the most extraordinary" tournament of all time.

Romario had thought that himself when Brazil was chosen to host the World Cup back in 2007, but recently changed his mind because of the problems with the country's preparations. In his first term as a congressman, he has been an outspoken critic of how the South American nation is getting ready for the tournament.

The former Barcelona striker harshly criticized the meeting in the nation's capital because it didn't involve congressmen who have a say in the World Cup bill, which has been a controversial topic in Brazil and has concerned FIFA because of delays on its approval.

The proposed law gives FIFA the needed financial and legal guarantees to organize the event, but it has been criticized by many Brazilians because it gives football's governing body too much power. The bill has been approved by a congressional commission but still has to go through the lower house and the senate before reaching Rousseff for her signature.

Romario used an expletive to say that the World Cup will be a failure "if wrong and strange things like this meeting between Blatter and people not linked to the World Cup bill keep happening."

Blatter did meet with the congressmen directly involved in the World Cup bill, however, having lunch with government leaders and the lower house president after the encounter with Rousseff.

Romario also expressed his concerns over the misuse of public funds and overspending in work related to the World Cup and next year's Confederations Cup. He said the projects are not being done ahead of time and will end up being categorized as "emergency work" as the tournaments gets closer, being completed without the need for bidding processes.

"It will be the greatest heist in the history of Brazil," Romario said. "Then I'll want to see if the people who were smiling in the photograph in that meeting will want to show up again. Brazil is a circus and you already know who the clowns are."


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