FIFA President Meets Pope
Sepp Blatter met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome on Friday.
The pair discussed the favela situation in Rio de Janeiro as well as football in general. Pope Francis had appealed to Blatter earlier after visiting may of Rio’s favelas ahead of World Youth Day in July.
Blatter told the pope he will “do what we can,” ahead of the World Cup.
“We cannot do everything,” he added addressing the complexities of the current situation. Brazilian authorities regularly assert control over the favelas, going so far to clear many of them out for the World Cup.
“We spoke the same language and it was language of football,” said Blatter about meeting the Pontiff.
“It was really a meeting between two sportsmen and football fans.”
Pope Francis is an avid football fan, supports San Lorenzo his hometown football club in Buenos Aires. The two leaders went on to discuss participation in football around the world and in the Roman Catholic Church.
“We have 1.2 billion people and (the pope) said, ‘I have no more than 1 billion,'” said Blatter after the visit.
Blatter’s visit comes after Pope Francis was paid a visit by IOC president Thomas Bach.
FIFA to Reconsider Brazil Start Times
FIFA may reschedule start times during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Many of the matches are scheduled to begin at midday, a decision that the world player’s union FIFPro did not agree with.
Midday temperatures in the tropical regions of Brazil have raised concerns for FIFPro. Despite the World Cup taking place in the southern hemisphere’s winter, Natal, Salvador, Recife, Fortaleza, and Manaus are all located near the equator in the Northern region of the country.
Natal, Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife have at least one start time at 13:00 local time, while Manaus two kickoffs at 15:00 local time.
“In Mexico in 1970 and 1986, we played at high noon, at 2,400 metres and the quality of the game did not suffer,” Blatter told reporters.
“We have received different pleas, letters and demands concerning the time schedule which has been established but which has not yet been sanctioned.”
Blatter added that the FIFA Executive Committee will discuss concerns in December at its meeting in El Salvador.
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