Sepp Blatter Slams Brazil and Sparks Fears Ahead of World Cup

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2014

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO - DECEMBER 21:  FIFA President Sepp Blatter looks on before the FIFA Club World Cup 3rd Place Match between Guangzhou Evergrande FC and Atletico Mineiro at the Marrakech Stadium on December 21, 2013 in Marrakech, Morocco. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
Steve Bardens/Getty Images

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has slammed Brazil's faltering preparations for this year's World Cup and has suggested he is expecting to see national protests throughout the tournament.

Football's controversial figure criticised the South American country in an interview with Swiss newspaper 24 Heures, as reported by The Telegraph:

Brazil has just found out what it means and has started work much too late.

No country has been so far behind in preparations since I have been at Fifa even though it is the only host nation which has had so much time - seven years - in which to prepare.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - DECEMBER 16:  A general view of the Arena de Sao Paulo venue for the FIFA 2014 World Cup Brazil ahead on December 16, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images)
Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

As highlighed by Martyn Ziegler of The Independent, only six of the 12 World Cup stadiums were finished by the deadline of Dec. 31, 2013. Various hotels, airports and roads are also yet to be completed as the country comes under huge scrutiny ahead of the long-awaited competition.

World Cup hosts usually have six years or less to complete their stadia and infrastructure, but with just six months until hordes of fans descend upon Brazil, there's plenty of work still to be done.

BANGKOK, THAILAND - DECEMBER 28: The mascot of the FIFA Brazil 2014 World Cup, Fuleco poses during the FIFA World Cup trophy tour on December 28, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.  (Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images)
Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images

Reports recently highlighted how the competition's most expensive stadium has a leaking roof—the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia—as covered by Andrew Downie of Reuters via Yahoo! Eurosport.

Vincent Bevins of the Los Angeles Times also reports how two workers were crushed by a crane when working on Sao Paulo's World Cup stadium, while another duo lost their lives on the site of Manaus' Amazonia Arena.

Bevins discussed the problems in detail, highlighting the continued troubles experienced throughout construction:

It's not clear whether the deaths resulted from poor planning or even criminal negligence on the part of the government or construction companies.

But they have brought increased attention to the problems with preparations for the international sporting extravaganza in June, which has also been hit by accusations of corruption and wasteful public spending.

COSTA DO SAUIPE, BAHIA - DECEMBER 05:  FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter attends the FIFA Executive Committee Meeting Press Conference during a media day ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Draw at Costa do Sauipe Resort on December 5, 2013 in Costa do Sauipe
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

To make matters worse, protests engulfed the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, suggesting there could be more to come at the biggest footballing tournament of them all.

As reported in The Telegraph's article, Blatter is expecting more of the same during the World Cup:

There was no specific goal but during the World Cup the protests will perhaps be more concrete, more organised. But I also believe the football will be safe, I do not believe that Brazilians will attack the football directly. For them, it's a religion.

Considering "Brazil's biggest cartel" has also promised a "World Cup of terror," as reported by the Daily Mail, the problems continue to mount for a country that is famed for its footballing heritage across the globe.