Ongoing civil unrest forces Rio de Janeiro Soccerex abandonment
A pre-World Cup conference in Rio de Janeiro has been called off, dealing the latest blow to Brazil's 2014 preparations.
Last Updated: 05/11/13 9:45pm
The five-day conference, which was set to bring together almost 5,000 key decision-makers from the world of football, was due to begin on November 30th.
But the event, which was set to take place at the iconic Maracana Stadium, the World Cup Final venue, will no longer go ahead, much to the dissatisfaction of Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie.
"On behalf of all at Soccerex, I would like to apologise to every business, football club, league, federation and media organisation affected by this news," Revie said.
"This unique and cruel conclusion to our time in Rio was completely out of our hands and everyone who has attended a Soccerex event over the last 18 years will know this is not how we do business."
Soccerex have confirmed via a statement their intention to take legal action against the Rio State government for breaching the terms of an agreement between the two parties.
"It is with great disappointment that we must confirm that the final Soccerex Global Convention in Brazil will now not be taking place," they said.
"With the ongoing civil unrest, the Rio de Janeiro State Secretary of Sport took the political decision to withdraw their support from the Soccerex Global Convention.
"Preparations for the event at the Maracana Stadium were well advanced with content planned, speakers confirmed and partnerships in place.
"To be summarily cancelled in such a cavalier fashion, having hosted 33 events over five continents, is extremely frustrating but nevertheless it has happened and is in contravention of all of the contractual obligations of the Rio State Government, who have been notified of our intention to instigate legal proceedings for substantial compensation."
However, the state government of Rio has "strongly denied" the reasons given by Soccerex for cancelling the event.
Local officials have claimed that the Soccerex organisers failed to apply for the correct funding, and insisted that security for the event would have been guaranteed.
A statement read: "The state government of Rio strongly denied that Soccerex was cancelled due to security reasons.
"The state guarantees the security for many events in Rio, including the upcoming New Year celebration, with millions of people on the Copacabana beach, as well as the Carnival, the World Cup next year.
"The governor says he encouraged the organizers to seek the culture/sport incentive funding to finance the event, but the organizers failed to do so."
The news comes after a FIFA delegation accompanied by former Brazil striker Ronaldo told Sky Sports News earlier on Tuesday they were optimistic the 2014 World Cup would proceed peacefully.
"It's a problem we are trying to solve. It's important to identify the failures and to have this auto-critical view and to correct and to prevent that is our idea," said FIFA Head of Special Advisory Office Carlos Cardim.