SAO PAULO (AP):Brazil is not yet ready to host the 2014 World Cup, football great Pele told the ESPN Soccernet website in an interview posted yesterday.
According to Pele, chaotic organisation and communication difficulties are the biggest problems facing Brazil as it prepares for the World Cup.
"Brazil is not ready," Pele said. "Not yet, it is not ready. The biggest problem, I think, is the organisation, that is a big problem, so too is the communications."
But despite his fears, Pele said he was confident all "will run smoothly" by the time the World Cup gets under way.
"I am now working directly with the president of Brazil, who is doing her best to help out with the organisation," he said.
In July, President Dilma Rousseff named Pele the honorary ambassador for the World Cup. At the time, he criticised delays in building stadiums and other infrastructure.
Pele spoke to ESPN on Wednesday, the same day that Brazil's sports minister Orlando Silva resigned amid corruption allegations. He was the sixth minister forced out of Rousseff's government. Four of the others had also faced corruption allegations.
A recent government report on Brazil's preparations for the World Cup said that as of September, renovation work had not begun on five of the 13 airports that will be used during the tournament.
The report also said that seven of the 12 host cities have not begun other infrastructure work, and only nine of the nearly 50 transportation projects planned for the tournament were under way.
Earlier this month, former Brazil striker Romario, now a congressman, told Agencia Brasil, the government's news agency: "Maybe because of politics, work which was supposed to be halfway done hasn't even started."
The government, however, does not seem worried about the apparent lack of progress and is confident that everything will eventually get done. Officials also dismiss the notion Brazil is not doing enough.
"Brazil is doing the necessary work for the World Cup and there are no signs that deadlines will be missed," the Sports Ministry's media office said in a recent email to The Associated Press.