Pele fears protests could 'ruin' World Cup

Updated: 2014-03-11 14:55


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Pele fears protests could 'ruin' World Cup

Brazilian soccer legend Pele reacts as he poses after a news conference to present the FIFA World Cup global "Trophy Tour" in Paris, March 10, 2014. The 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil from June 12 through July 13. [Photo/Agencies]

RIO DE JANEIRO - Football legend Pele fears violent protests in Brazil could ruin this year's World Cup.

Mass anti-government rallies that began during last June are expected to continue during the World Cup, to be held in 12 Brazilian cities from July 12 to July 13.

Pele called on Brazilians to temporarily put aside their disquiet over bad governance and corruption.

"As a Brazilian it makes me sad," Pele was quoted telling Brazilian media. "We have two great chances to show off our country to the world with the World Cup and (Rio 2016) Olympics. It's an opportunity for the country to make money, develop tourism and it's important the protests don't ruin all of this. We are working as hard as we can."

The 73-year-old rates Brazil among the tournament favorites but warned the path to a sixth World Cup will be littered with obstacles.

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