FIFA says sorry to Brazilians

FIFA performed an embarrassing U-turn and apologised, saying it had withdrawn publicity material for the World Cup in Brazil that poked fun at local customs.

Just weeks after sports merchandiser Adidas pulled from the market two shirts which Brazil viewed as sexist, FIFA has now removed material which depicted Brazilians as unpunctual, impatient and even chaotic.

Having regularly complained to Brazil about the slow pace of construction of stadiums for the June-July World Cup -- six out of 12 missed FIFA’s original December 31 deadline -- football’s world governing body felt moved to add: “In Brazil, things are largely done last-minute.”FIFA admitted its attempts at humour had backfired.

“The material was light-hearted and at no time was meant to criticise Brazil,” a FIFA statement said.

FIFA “advice” for visitors to the World Cup host had offered “10 tips for avoiding any cultural misunderstandings.”

“Punctuality is not an exact science in Brazil,” was just one observation, which added that “15 minutes is the tolerated norm.” A further comment was that “patiently waiting in line is not in a Brazilian’s DNA... Brazilians prefer cultivated chaos.”

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