Pele denies rift with Brazil football chief

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Pele denies rift with Brazil football chief

LONDON - Pele denies he’s feuding with Brazilian football chief Ricardo Teixeira despite failing to receive an official invitation for the 2014 World Cup qualifying draw last week.

Pele needed an honorary ambassadorship from the government to attend the Rio de Janeiro event on Saturday.

Teixeira is also the president of the local 2014 organizing committee. He has been regularly attacked by the Brazilian media for alleged irregularities while running football in the country.

“I have not had a fight with Ricardo Teixieira. It is not true, I respect him. It wasn’t really anything,’’ Pele said Tuesday from London. “We want to have an excellent World Cup and that is what we’re going to try and do. He has his problems with the media who don’t like him, but I hope this doesn’t affect the football.”

FIFA is concerned that some facilities, including Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium, will be ready with only a few weeks to spare. The Maracana could rival Sao Paulo’s stadium to host the final, an issue that has caused problems. “It was something that scared us a bit because Sao Paulo is the capital of football in Brazil. It’s the only thing that worried us a bit. The rest of Brazil, no problem.’’

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