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By ESPN Staff
Sep 28, 2006

Brazil told to build for 2014 by Sepp Blatter

BRASILIA, Brazil, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Brazil must start building new stadiums now if it wants to ensure it will be chosen to host the 2014 World Cup, FIFA head Sepp Blatter said on Thursday.

'The ball is Brazil's court and we can say that the demands are very great,' Blatter said after meeting Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brasilia.

Brazil, five times winner of the World Cup, is keen to host the 2014 tournament and is the front-runner to do so after FIFA established its policy of continental rotation that paved the way for a South American country to stage the event in eight years.

However, many of Brazil's stadiums are inadequate or even dangerous and other infrastructure such as transport links is also lacking.

Lula, who is tipped to win re-election in a poll on Sunday, told Blatter his government would fully back the bid.

'This is important because we need government guarantees,' Blatter said. 'If Brazil needs new infrastructure, it should begin today.'

A high standard of organisation had been set by Germany with this summer's World Cup, he added.

Lula, a keen football fan who supports the Sao Paulo side Corinthians, recently said Brazil must build 12 new stadiums.

Sports Minister Orlando Silva said Brazil would make every effort to bring the tournament to the country. It would be the first World Cup tournament to be held in South America since Argentina in 1978 - though central American Mexico held the 1986 edition.

Blatter said a decision would be announced late next year or early 2008.

South Africa will host the 2010 World Cup - the first to be held in Africa.