No Blatter speech at World Cup opener
FIFA president Sepp Blatter will break from tradition and not make a speech at the World Cup opening ceremony this summer.
• World Cup Daily: March 12
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was roundly booed when she spoke before the first game of last year’s Confederations Cup, as countrywide public demonstrations blighted the tournament.
Such was the audible ill feeling during Rousseff’s address, Blatter was forced to intervene, saying: "Friends of Brazilian football, where is the respect and the fair play, please?"
The FIFA president is keen to avoid such an incident when the curtain is raised on the finals at the Arena de Sao Paulo on June 12, though he insisted that he is not anticipating a repeat of last summer’s protests.
"We are going to carry out the opening ceremony in a way that doesn't involve speeches," Blatter was quoted as telling German news agency RP Online.
"I'm convinced that the protests in Brazil will not have the same argument that they had during the Confederation Cup. I am convinced that the situation has calmed."
"Brazil has 200 million football fans and will receive the world as well. How the local team play will also have an influence but I am convinced it will be a good World Cup, at least when it comes to football.
"We hope that the World Cup will play a part in calming down the social unrest that we experienced during the Confederations Cup."
The first game of the 2014 World Cup sees Brazil face Croatia in Group A.