Rio de Janeiro • FIFA President Sepp Blatter responded Friday to criticism of the cost of staging the World Cup in Brazil by pledging to give at least $100 million in profits back to the country.
Soccer's world governing body gave South Africa $100 million to invest in development projects after the 2010 World Cup, but had not previously said it would establish a similar "social fund" after the 2014 tournament to Brazil.
The Confederations Cup, which serves as a World Cup warm-up event, has been marred by protesters denouncing billions of dollars spent to host next year's event money some say should be going toward improving public services.
"We have left a legacy (in South Africa), a special fund of $100 million, this fund is controlled by the Football (Association) of (South) Africa, the government of South Africa and FIFA," Blatter said in Rio de Janeiro. "I am sure an amount like that, or even higher, will be possible to have here ... the aim from FIFA is not to take profit out of the country, but to put into the country."
Blatter acknowledged the demonstrations that have rocked Brazil while the tournament has been taking place.
"Hope is one of the elements of football ... we play football nowadays in all perturbed countries in all the world," Blatter said. "And not only in the perturbed countries where there are many (security) situations, like in Syria or in Afghanistan where we play football, but also (where) there is some social unrest.
"Look at European countries, there is social unrest there are demonstrations in Portugal, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Greece."