(WFI) President Sepp Blatter will leave for Brazil at the end of the week for FIFA meetings in Bahia and talks with 2014 World Cup organisers about preparations.

FIFA’s deadline for stadia completion will be one of the hot button issues, with reports from Brazil suggesting further delays in construction of several venues including the 68,000-seat venue in Sao Paulo, site of the opening match on June 12.

The BBC reported today that authorities behind Arena Amazonia in the northern city of Manaus would struggle to deliver it on time.

And officials in the host city of Cuiaba told the BBC that the Arena Pantanal would not be completed by FIFA’s Dec. 31 deadline.

These venues may not be finished until February or March, according to the BBC’s Rio correspondent Wyre Davies, when test events are crucial for the run-in to the World Cup.

Blatter will take up the stadia issue in meetings with Brazil president Dilma Rousseff and sports minister Aldo Rebelo during the week, which culminates with the World Cup draw at the Costa do Sauipe resort in Bahia on Dec. 6.

Two key events next week are the Brazil 2014 LOC meeting on Dec. 3 and the FIFA Executive Committee meeting on Dec. 5.

Press conferences that follow these meetings will be live-streamed on FIFA.com.

Blatter Backs 2014 Soccerex Global Convention

In the wake of the dispute between Rio state authorities and Soccerex
which led to the cancellation of the global convention, FIFA president
Sepp Blatter has put his faith in the company delivering the conference
as it prepares to return Manchester in September 2014.

Blatter said:
“I am really looking forward to the World Cup in Brazil and I am also
looking forward to reprising its success at Soccerex in Manchester for
the Global Convention in September. I wish you all a great 2014 football
experience!”

His comments came in a Soccerex statement issued this
week, which outlined its plans to make next year’s global convention
bigger and better than previous editions.

“After being on the road
for the past 12 years, the convention’s return to Europe will see a
greater presence and involvement from the continent’s leading clubs,
leagues, federations and associations. This will be represented through a
combination of tailored conference sessions, workshops, private
meetings rooms and an exclusive exhibition.

“The 2014 convention will
maintain its global presence by providing a platform for confederations
and local organising committees to highlight and promote their
individual tournaments around the globe,” it said.

The statement
added: “With dedicated exhibition space, tournament-specific workshops
and round-table discussions, the convention will enable attendees to
meet major event organisers for the 30-plus tournaments taking place
over the next five years.”

Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie said: “The
initial disappointment over the cancellation of this year’s Global
Convention has been replaced by a buzz and excitement around Manchester,
which has been demonstrated by a large majority of our sponsors,
exhibitors and delegates transferring their bookings to next year’s
event. We’re very excited about the next chapter of Soccerex and to
welcoming the world of football to Manchester in September 2014.”

Nike Shows Off Brazil Kit

Nike has unveiled its kit for the Brazil World Cup team, as coach Luiz Felipe Scolari sent out a message to the other 31 participating teams that the host country was hungry for a sixth world title.

“The shirt looks great, the only thing missing is a sixth star,” Scolari was quoted in a Reuters report.”We aim to have that on there after the World Cup.”

Nike, whose Brazil jersey is its top-selling shirt globally, said the World Cup host country would be its third largest market by 2017 after the USA and China.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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