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FIFA's Valcke to tour Brazil stadiums next week

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke is due back in Brazil next week to tour stadiums in Recife, Belo Horizonte and Rio as the country prepares to mark the 100-day countdown to its hosting of the Confederations Cup.

Football's world governing body said in a statement that Valcke would Tuesday be in the northeastern city of Recife, where he was to be accompanied by Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo.

Also to join them were former Brazil stars Ronaldo and Bebeto, ambassadors for the 2014 World Cup's Local Organizing Committee, and famed Brazilian-American neo-pop artist Romero Britto, a Recife native.

Recife, Belo Horizonte and Rio are among the six Brazilian host cities for the Confederations Cup, which will be held from June 15 to 30 and will act as a dry run for the 2014 World Cup.

In Recife and Belo Horizonte, Valcke will hand over symbolic tickets to representatives of construction workers involved in the stadium renovation work.

All those helping build or renovate the 12 FIFA World Cup stadiums are to receive each two tickets for a World Cup match in their respective venues in 2014.

On Wednesday, Valcke was to inspect Belo Horizonte's Mineirao arena before concluding his Brazilian tour in Rio on Thursday.

Last year, Valcke caused a stir by saying Brazil needed a "kick up the backside" to ensure the 2014 World Cup goes off on schedule.

But he later apologized for the remarks and patched up relations with his Brazilian hosts.

Friday, the FIFA secretary-general said in a statement that the Confederations Cup and the World Cup were "a great opportunity to showcase Brazil's beauty to the world and illustrate its capacity to deliver both on and off the pitch."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130302/fifas-valcke-tour-brazil-stadiums-next-week