Lula unveiled the reforms at a ceremony in the Brazilian capital on Monday (Getty)

(WFI) The Brazilian government has announced another raft of spending to hasten preparations for the 2014 World Cup following mounting concern that the country will not be ready.

In a presidential signing ceremony, President Lula pledged 5.5billion reais ($3.1billion) to upgrade airports in the country’s 12 host cities.

The move follows the acknowledgement of Local Organizing Committee chairman Ricardo Teixeira last week that Brazil faced three problems in the run up to 2014 – “airports, airports, airports.”

Lula also eased restrictions on the ability of municipalities to borrow money and pay for local infrastructure.

At the ceremony in Brasilla, Lula’s government also revealed plans to donate real estate and 740 million reais to allow seven cities, including Rio de Janeiro, to overhaul their ports and allow for the docking of large cruise ships.
“Certainly it will be an alternative to the lack of hotels,” Pedro Brito, the ports minister was quoted by Reuters.

Lula also played down concerns that Sao Paulo will not host World Cup games after a row over the reconstruction of the Morumbi Stadium threatened to see it miss out.

Lula blamed the Sao Paulo state government, which until April was run by the opposition presidential candidate, John Serra.

“Frankly, I can’t imagine a World Cup in Brazil without Sao Paoulo as one of the corners for athletes to play ball,” Lula said.

Low signs up for Euro 2012

Germany manager Joachim Low has ended speculation on his future by signing a new contract which will see him lead Germany into the 2012 European Championships.

Doubts about Low’s future had emerged before the World Cup after a stand off emerged with the German FA (DFB) over the salaries commanded by his backroom staff.

But following Germany’s successful World Cup campaign, which saw them finish third and the tournament’s top goalscorers, new deals have been handed to Low, team manager Olivier Bierhoff, Low’s assistant Hans-Dieter Flick and goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke.

“Our team has excellent sporting prospects and it is a big challenge for us to be able to get stuck into the preparations for EURO 2012 after the successful World Cup in South Africa,” said Low.

“Thanks to the excellent work the Bundesliga clubs do with young players and to the youth teams of the DFB, we are convinced that the national team can further enhance their international standing through modern and attractive football.”

DFB president Theo Zwanziger professed his relief at getting Low’s future resolved.

“I am pleased for German football that we have managed to successfully solve the most important personnel decisions regarding the nation team so quickly and in such a friendly manner,” he said.

Adamu Leads Inspection Team

Nigeria’s FIFA Ex-co member Amos Adamu has arrived in Sudan to lead an inspection delegation ahead of next year’s African Championship of Nations (CHAN).

The tournament, inaugurated in 2009 in Ivory Coast, is made up of African national teams exclusively featuring players who play in their domestic leagues.

“This is a vital assignment and I have to leave Germany [where

Nigerian FIFA ex-co member Adamu will lead the four day visit to Sudan (Getty)

the Women’s under-20 World Cup is being played] to honour it. I will be back in Germany on July 24,” Adamu was quoted by the Nigerian Tribune.

Adamu also described speculation that he had been appointed a “special assistant on sports” to President Goodluck Jonathan as “mischevious”.

Earlier this month President Jonathan withdrew Nigeria from international competition in an effort to clear up the culture of corruption and underachievement that has undermined it. Adamu’s intervention saw President Jonathan backtrack.

“No one contacted me for such thing and I don’t know where that issue is coming from,” Adamu said.

“I believe some people are just trying to be mischievous and I am just too busy to start thinking about rumours.

“For the next All Africa Games, I have invitation to work with the LOC and I also have other offers which I am still looking at. I don’t know why people are just doing this.”
By INSIDER’s James Corbett.

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