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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 4, 2006

Brazil president backs bid to host 2014 World Cup

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 3 (Reuters) - Brazil president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva promised on Monday to back the country's bid to host the 2014 World Cup.

'Football is the greatest passion in the country and it deserves to host the World Cup,' he said after a meeting with Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Ricardo Teixeira in Brasilia.

'I will give all the backing necessary to Ricardo Teixeira so that, 64 years on, we can hold the World Cup in Brazil.'

'It's unbelievable that a country which has won the World Cup five times and which, during decades, has had the best team in the world, has not brought another World Cup here.'

Brazil, five-times winners of the World Cup, have only hosted the competition once, in 1950.

South America is due to host the 2014 World Cup under FIFA's rotation system, which begins in Africa in 2010, and Brazil is the only country on the continent which has said it wants to hold the event.

In 2003, the football federations of the other nine South American countries voted at a meeting in Asuncion to back Brazil as their only candidate.

However, successfully hosting a World Cup would require a huge amount of work.

Brazil's stadiums, mostly dating from the 1950s and 1960s, are generally in a decrepit state while domestic football suffers from chronic financial difficulties, sometimes chaotic administration and crowd violence.