Brazil’s president bid farewell to World Cup squad

BRASILIA, May 26 (Xinhua) — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, received on Tuesday afternoon at Alvorada Palace, his official residence, players of Brazilian World Cup squad, soon leaving for South Africa.

The players arrived in Brasilia from Curitiba, in the country’s southern region, where they began their preparation for the tournament.

All the stars, accompanied by coach Dunga and his assistants, were greeted one by one by the president and first lady Marisa Leticia, who wore the yellow-green maillot, wishing luck to the athletes.

As usual, an official photo was taken with the president and his wife, the sports minister Orlando Silva, the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), Ricardo Teixeira, and the delegation to represent the country on African soil.

The meeting was closed to public, who thronged near the presidential palace without getting access to the group of players, who were escorted by guards.

The South Africa World Cup 2010 begins on June 11 and Brazil’s first match will be against DPR Korea on June 15. Before the tournament, the Brazilian squad is due to play two friendly matches on June 2 and June 7 against Tanzania and Zimbabwe respectively.

Before meeting the squad, Lula da Silva signed three acts relating to World Cup Brazil 2014. The most important of them exempts the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) from paying taxes in the South American country up to 2015, a requirement made by the organization to all countries receiving the tournament.

The same text provides federal tax benefits for construction and renovation of stadiums where matches will be played in 2014 and also creates a committee for the protection of intellectual property rights related to the competition.

After the meeting with the World Cup squad, President Lula da Silva greeted three Brazilian referees who will go to South Africa: Carlos Eugenio Simon, Altemir Hausmann and Roberto Braatz.

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