RIO DE JANEIRO: FIFA will allow Brazilians over 65 to attend World Cup matches for half price at the 2014 finals, its secretary general Jerome Valcke said in an interview, clearing one obstacle to an agreement with Brazil’s government over rules for the event.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff held talks with Valcke during her visit to Europe this month and, according to media reports, told him that her government could not agree to FIFA’s request for full-price tickets for elderly people.
The right to half-price tickets for people over 65 years old is enshrined in Brazilian law.
“We won’t say that we are above laws and regulations. When President Rousseff says there is a law to protect people over 65 years old, I say to her we don’t want this changed,” Valcke told Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday.
“But at the same time we want to be certain that we don’t have lots of different communities having access to half-price tickets, whether they are blood donors, students, ex-players and so on.”
FIFA’s request that half-price rights be overruled for the World Cup has sparked a backlash in Congress, which must pass the legislation setting financial and legal rules for the global showpiece. In addition to ticket prices, the law covers trademark protection, the sale of alcohol in stadiums and television rights.
Former Brazilian international Romario, who is now a federal congressman, has said that FIFA must not be allowed to dictate changes to Brazilian law for the event.
Romario and other lawmakers are also calling on the government to stand up for students’ rights to half-price tickets, saying it is a matter of Brazilian sovereignty and that FIFA must accept the hit to its profits.
Valcke said in the interview that he would visit Brazil next week to continue talks on the law and would return in November with FIFA President Sepp Blatter to “finalize everything.”