FIFA acknowledges Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff will not attend the Confederations Cup final amid tight sec
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (JUNE 30, 2013) (REUTERS) - FIFA confirmed on Sunday (June 30) that Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff would not be attending the Confederations Cup final between Brazil andSpain at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
On his return to Brazil for the final, Sepp Blatter, President of the world soccer governing body expressed his disappointment that Rousseff will not be at the stadium to hand the trophy to the winners, a break with tradition. They were both booed when they appeared together at the opening match between Japan andBrazil on June 15 in Brasilia.
"I think the confirmation on attendance from the government side needs to come from the government, FIFA spokesman Odriozola told reporters. "I think they already made an announcement in that regard and in regard to VIP attendance yes, we already mentioned that, thanks," the spokesman added.
As part of the ongoing protests which have been sweeping Brazil since the start of the Confederations Cup, tens of thousands of demonstrators are expecting to march to the Maracana on Sunday, knowing the end of the football tournament will deprive them of a high-profile stage on which to air their grievances.
To make sure the stadium isn't the scene of violence as it has been in other stadium cities, a two-kilometre security zone has been set up around the Maracana, and FIFA say they are confident that all the right measures are in place.
"We know how many people we are going to have in the stadium, so that does not change our security plans, as we are responsible for what happens within the stadium. So that is one thing, but on the other hand, the feedback we are getting from the local authorities is that the plan that was announced yesterday has not changed," said Local Organising Committee Saint Clair Milesi. "So they are prepared, despite, as you mentioned, the estimates of how many demonstrators -- and where they will be heading that is still unclear as you may have noticed -- but the information we have from them is that all the necessary security measures are in place and we have full trust on for their readiness for this."
The protests were fuelled by widespread frustration with Brazil's education, health and transportation services, rising crime and cost of living, as well as over-spending on stadiums that will host next year's World Cup football tournament.
Six people have died in the protests, including a young man who fell from an overpass in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday as riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into marchers to stop them from reaching a stadium where a Confederations Cup game was being played.
So far there has been no trouble inside any of the six stadiums used during the tournament. Political banners are banned by FIFA inside the ground but Brazilians are making their voice heard by carrying on singing their national anthem even after the official playback by the organisers stops.
"We are very, very much looking forward to the final match," Odriozola said. "We've had great football and we hope to have great football today in the final. So at the moment we are still very much focused on delivering a great day in terms of the organisation and also to being able to enjoy -- like all football fans -- a fantastic final."
The match is sold out with 78,000 spectators attending.