Brazil protests will calm down, Blatter hopes

Rio de Janeiro, June 19 (IANS) FIFA president Sepp Blatter denied that the Confederations Cup and World Cup are the causes for mass protests across Brazil.

Demonstrations, which began last week in response to rise in public transport fares, have turned into a nation-wide rally against bad governance and corruption, reports Xinhua.

Many marchers expressed their anger at the billions of dollars spent on new football stadiums for next year's World Cup instead of improvements to the country's precarious public services like hospitals, schools and transport.

"I hope that the protests will calm down," Blatter said during a press conference Tuesday.

"Brazil is a country that prides itself on freedom. I can understand that the people are unhappy. But football is here to bring people together, build bridges, bring happiness and hope.

"Brazil asked us to host the World Cup. We didn't impose the World Cup on Brazil. It's obvious that we had to build stadiums. But they aren't the only thing needed for a World Cup. There are also roads, hotels, airports and many things that remain as a legacy."

Blatter said he was confident the protests would not affect the Confederations Cup, a World Cup warmup event currently being played in six Brazilian cities.

The 77-year-old Swiss admitted he had discussed the situation with Brazil's sports minister Aldo Rebelo.

"This is a matter for the Brazilian government and the governments of the specific regions," Blatter said. "It's up to them to resolve it. The only thing we can do is offer great football in beautiful stadiums so that people can enjoy themselves.

"I don't know that the government has planned but I am confident that the protests will not affect the Confederations Cup."

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