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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Brazil football convention cancelled

Questions have been raised over security at the 2014 World Cup after a major football convention due to be held in Brazil was cancelled as a result of "ongoing civil unrest".

The global Soccerex convention was set to visit the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro from November 30 - December 5, with England manager Roy Hodgson among the special guests.

But continued public disputes reportedly led the Rio state government to withdraw their support of the event, forcing its cancellation.

A statement from the Soccerex organisers revealed the government will face legal action.

"It is with great disappointment that we must confirm that the final Soccerex Global Convention in Brazil will now not be taking place," the statement said. "With the ongoing civil unrest, the Rio de Janeiro State Secretary of Sport took the political decision to withdraw their support from the Soccerex Global Convention.

"Preparations for the event at the Maracana Stadium were well advanced with content planned, speakers confirmed and partnerships in place.

"To be summarily cancelled in such a cavalier fashion, having hosted 33 events over five continents is extremely frustrating but nevertheless it has happened and is in contravention of all of the contractual obligations of the Rio State Government, who have been notified of our intention to instigate legal proceedings for substantial compensation."

But the Rio government hit back, denying security concerns were to blame.

A statement said: "The state government of Rio strongly denied that Soccerex was cancelled due to security reasons. The state guarantees the security for many events in Rio, including the upcoming New Year celebration, with millions of people on the Copacabana beach, as well as the Carnival, the World Cup next year.

"The governor says he encouraged the organisers to seek the culture/sport incentive funding to finance the event, but the organisers failed to do so."

Meanwhile, Brazil legend Ronaldo believes his country will overcome all external issues and host a successful World Cup.

"Brazil is a civilised country," he told a press conference in London. "It's a country that is known worldwide for being very hospitable to tourists.

"I am sure there won't be any problems in the World Cup because the last survey showed that the Brazil population is in favour of the World Cup. The Brazil population sees the World Cup as an opportunity for there to be investment in Brazil.

"Brazil is experiencing something really special now. It's a moment of change. We must listen to any non-violent protests. We won't tolerate any violent protests, but I don't believe there will be any type of protest during the World Cup."

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