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Soccer: Less democracy makes for an easier World Cup - Valcke

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke responds to a question during the 2014 World Cup Local Organizing Committee (LOC) news conference in Ri
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke responds to a question during the 2014 World Cup Local Organizing Committee (LOC) news conference in Ri

ZURICH (Reuters) - Too much democracy can be a hindrance when organizing a World Cup, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday.

Valcke said one of the reasons FIFA had encountered difficulties in organizing the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was due to the various levels of government in the South American nation.

He expected fewer problems for Russia 2018 with President Vladimir Putin.

"I will say something which is crazy, but less democracy is sometimes better for organizing a World Cup," he told a symposium on the tournament.

"When you have a very strong head of state who can decide, as maybe Putin can do in 2018...that is easier for us organizers than a country such as Germany....where you have to negotiate at different levels.

"The main fight we have (is) when we enter a country where the political structure is divided, as it is in Brazil, into three levels, the federal level, the state level and the city level.

"(There are) different people, different movements, different interests and it's quite difficult to organize a World Cup in such conditions."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter then told the audience that he was relieved that hosts Argentina won the 1978 World Cup, which was held under an oppressive military government.

"I remember my first World Cup where I was directly involved was the one in Argentina and I would say I was happy Argentina won," he said.

"This was a kind of reconciliation of the public, of the people of Argentina, with the system, the political system, the military system at the time.

"I think, and this is my approach on such a matter...I don't know what could have happened if they had lost this final and they were close to losing because the Dutch they hit the post in the last minutes of the 90 minutes.

"The game and the world changed, that was my feeling at the time." He did not enlarge on his comments.

Argentina beat the Netherlands 3-1 after extra time in the final.

Blatter described FIFA as being conservative, liberal and socialist, all at the same time.

"We are conservative, like the Catholics, when it comes to the laws of the game and referees. Then we are liberal when we go to the market," he said, referring to FIFA's commercial dealings.

"We are Marx and Engels when it comes to the distribution of the money, 70 percent of all income is distributed to the national associations for development programs."

(Editing by Mark Meadows)

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