RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - FIFA must not be allowed to ride roughshod over Brazilian law when it stages the 2014 World Cup, former Brazil striker Romario, now a federal Congressman, said Monday.
Romario told reporters that Brazilian laws which guarantee half-price entry to football matches for the elderly and ban on alcohol in stadiums should not be swept away for FIFA’s benefit.
“If FIFA is not put in its rightful place, FIFA will soon have more power than our president and the World Cup will be the way FIFA wants it and not the way we should do it,” Romario told reporters.
”They have to respect the laws for old age pensioners, supporters and students. FIFA has to understand that things have changed.
”According to FIFA’s calculations, they would lose 180 million real (64 million pounds) with the half-price entry.
“We don’t have to pay this. FIFA could earn a little bit less so that the Brazilians can take part.”
World Cup host nations must agree a series of conditions imposed by FIFA before staging the event.
These cover, among others, ticket sales and pricing, protection of trademarks and a ban on vendors not licensed by FIFA in and around stadiums.
FIFA argues that profits are reinvested in football.
The Brazilian Congress is currently debating a so-called World Cup law which needs to be passed for FIFA’s conditions to come into effect.
Romario added that the urban transport remained one of the biggest worries for the staging of the World Cup.
”Urban transport is the biggest problem,“ he said. ”There are a lot of paralised projects.
”There are problems in all venue cities,“ he added. ”Brazil is certainly not going to stage the best World Cup in history as some have said.
“It’s not going to be the World Cup for the Brazilian people.”
Romario, 45, led the attack when Brazil won the World Cup in 1994 and was one of the country’s most prolific goalscorers during a career which took him to Netherlands, Spain, Qatar, United States and Australia.
He claimed to have scored more than 1,000 goals during his career although that total includes goals scored in youth, friendly and testimonial games.
Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Justin Palmer