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Happy Blatter hails success

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BLATTER-MOROCCORIO DE JANEIRO, July 3- FIFA president Sepp Blatter declared Wednesday that the World Cup in Brazil was a success, saying that fears of anti-tournament protests had not materialized.

“I am a very happy man today,” Blatter said at a sport management seminar in Rio de Janeiro.

“It is a success of the country, of this game,” he said.

The World Cup has escaped the massive protests that marred last year’s warmup tournament, the Confederations Cup, when hundreds of thousands of people swarmed the streets to denounce the record $11 billion spent on hosting the event.

The protests have been much smaller during the World Cup, drawing a few hundred demonstrators still angry that the country spent so much on stadiums instead of hospitals, schools and public transport.

“I would like to address my compliments to the people of Brazil. They accepted this World Cup,” Blatter said.

While around 10 people protested against FIFA outside the seminar’s building, the head of football’s governing body asked: “Where is the social contest?”

The tournament was a success thanks to high television ratings, stadiums that are “works of art” and zero positive tests for doping, he said.

“Let’s cross fingers, hoping that the last games will take place with the same pattern, the same atmosphere,” he said.

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