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FIFA seeks to ease fears over Confederations Cup

Updated: Friday, 21 Jun 2013 21:29 | Comments

Anti riot police officers patrol the landmark Sambadrome in Rio
Anti riot police officers patrol the landmark Sambadrome in Rio

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FIFA has not discussed the possibility of cancelling the Confederations Cup, which has been overshadowed by protests sweeping Brazil.

"To date, neither FIFA nor the local organising committee have ever discussed any such possibility of cancelling the FIFA Confederations Cup," FIFA said in a statement sent to Reuters.

CBN radio and the website of the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, both respected, mainstream Brazilian media, carried reports earlier on Friday speculating that the eight-team tournament, considered a dry run for next year's World Cup, was in danger.

"FIFA will claim compensation from Brazil if the Confederations Cup has to be suspended," said a headline on CBN's website.

An estimated one million people took to the streets in cities across Brazil on Thursday as the country's biggest protests in two decades intensified despite government concessions meant to quell them.

The protests, now in their second week, have been about high taxes, inflation, corruption and poor public services and have also targeted the $26 billion of public money being spent on the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

A CBN report said one of the eight teams were pressuring their leaders to leave the Confederations Cup because they were worried about relatives who were in Brazil to watch the matches.

"On the legal side, there's a certain degree of confidence on FIFA's part that if the tournament is cancelled, it can launch a claim from the Brazilian government, if there are no safety guarantees for the competition or the World Cup," said the report by Juck Kfouri, a veteran Brazilian sports journalist.

"There is strong speculation, which won't go away," he added, referring to rumours that the competition was in danger.

The Estado said that FIFA was negotiating with the teams to try to persuade them to stay.

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