Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce says there is nothing that football’s world governing body could have done to prevent the travel chaos which has hampered the build-up to the World Cup in Brazil.
Six days of industrial action by subway workers have seen Sao Paulo grind to a halt, while countless flights into Brazil have been cancelled as the country’s travel network struggles to cope with the influx of supporters and dignitaries from across the globe.
But Boyce has told Goal that Fifa could not have foreseen such issues hitting the country just days before the tournament begins.
“The people at Fifa have worked so hard along with the local organising committee of Brazil and, quite honestly, I don’t think Fifa should be blamed in any way because Brazil were fully aware of all their commitments,” said the Northern Irishman.
“Brazil applied to host the World Cup, as South Africa did and as Russia did. The federations know before they apply for the World Cup exactly what is expected of them. There have been a lot of internal problems within Brazil, and there have been a lot of internal problems within the Brazilian government. But no, Fifa could do absolutely no more.
“I am a great believer in the old saying ‘It will be alright on the night’.”
Boyce also hit back at Sepp Blatter’s claims on Monday that allegations in the British media regarding corruption in the voting for the 2022 World Cup in favour of Qatar were borne from a racist campaign.
The 70-year-old insists that his countrymen have no such agenda.
“I’ll be honest with you, I have only heard the comments, I have not read about them. I can honestly say that I cannot consider the British media in any way to be racist,” added Boyce.
“There have been these allegations regarding the voting structure that took place in Qatar. There have been many people mentioned in this, and quite honestly they are of differing origins, but in regards to what the comments were [from Blatter], I wasn’t there, I didn’t hear them and I wouldn’t want to comment on them any further.”