San José, Costa Rica (AP) — FIFA President Sepp Blatter says the World Cup will be “well done,” but he criticized Brazilian authorities for starting late on stadium projects and for not providing enough worker safety.
Blatter spoke on Thursday in San José, where he was attending the Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
Blatter said FIFA could not take responsibility for the death of a worker last week at the stadium in Sao Paulo. Seven workers have been killed at World Cup venues, five in the last six months with work speeding to finish for the opening match in 10 weeks.
“Who is responsible for this?” he asked. “Is it FIFA? They are pointing at FIFA, and it’s not true. It’s basic to provide workers with safe conditions to do the work. We can’t go and watch at every construction site.”
Three stadiums are still being built in the southern cities of Sao Paulo and Curitiba, and the western city of Cuiaba.
A fourth stadium, already opened in Porto Alegre, has been hampered by a dispute about how to pay for temporary facilities for television, hospitality and security.
Despite the problems, Blatter predicted the World Cup would be a success.
“Brazil will be a well-done World Cup,” he said. “Some of the delays is because there was no work for years. But we’re on the way now to finishing the stadiums.”
Brazil is spending about $3.5 billion on 12 stadiums, and the costs keep rising. Many related infrastructure projects promised for the World Cup — like train lines, expanded airports and new roads — have been put off or cancelled.
The World Cup opens on June 12 with Brazil facing Croatia in Sao Paulo.