Soccerex says Rio state government to blame

The Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Soccerex officials say the Rio de Janeiro state government canceled the soccer convention over concerns spending more public money on the event might trigger an uproar.

The Rio state government made ''false and misleading claims'' about why the Nov. 30-Dec. 5 conference was cancelled, Soccerex said in a statement Thursday. It has been held for the last three years in Rio.

Soccerex said the ''chief concern cited to us ... was the political concern with regard to the social reaction'' for the state government's support.

Brazil has endured widespread protests, beginning with the Confederations Cup five months ago, tied to the billions being spent on next year's World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Soccerex said it had complied with all contract obligations.

''We wish to reiterate that the chief concern cited to us in this situation was the political concern with regard to the social reaction to the Rio Government's ongoing support for our event,'' Soccerex said.

The convention at Maracana Stadium was called off Tuesday. The Rio state government declined to reply to questions submitted on Wednesday and Thursday by The Associated Press.

Although fears over security were first cited for the cancellation, most of the focus now centers on responsibility for costs.

The ''government of Rio de Janeiro (state) wrongly seeks to absolve itself of its responsibilities with respect to the funding of the event,'' Soccerex said.

Soccerex is relatively minor, but the cancellation may be perceived as another blow to Brazil's image.inequality.

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