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Blatter Lavishes Praise On Rio's Maracana Stadium

posted 17 Jun 2013, 10:17 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 17 Jun 2013, 10:17 ]

FIFA President Sepp Blatter praises renovation of Rio's legendary Maracana stadium while Brazil's Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo says attempts to disrupt the Confederations Cup will not be tolerated.

RIO DE JANEIROBRAZIL (JUNE 17, 2013) (REUTERS) -  FIFA President Joseph Blatter on Monday (June 17) lavished praise onRio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana stadium as the Confederations Cup got into full swing.

"It's not a new Maracana. It's still the Maracana. It's full of emotion. It's like a church. It's like a cathedral. You build something, but it's still the same spirit. It is something exceptional this Maracana. The spectators, they answered it. And why they answered it? Because the two teams in the first half, they have presented a wonderful show," Blatter said.

The first two days of the tournament, which is seen as dress rehearsal for the World Cup, were marred by violent protests, but Brazil's Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said any attempts to disrupt the Confederations Cup would not not tolerated.

"Who thought that someone would try to stop the realization of these events? They will face the government's determination in stopping this from happening. The events will be held. The games will be played. We will not tolerate any type of movement that tries to stop the realization of these events. The protests will be tolerated within these limits," Rebelo told reporters on Monday.

Rebelo's comments came after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at a crowd of protesters outside the Maracana stadium on Sunday (June 16).

Protesters tried to pass a police blockade outside Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium where Mexico were playing Italy in the tournament, a run-through event for next year's World Cup finals.

The protests are ostensibly against the costs of this tournament and the World Cup, but people are also angry in Rio about a local issue surrounding the cost of public transport.

More protests are expected for later Monday.