Football: 'Crime-ridden hell-hole'? World Cup host city Manaus hits back with humour

The Arena da Amazonia stadium in the Amazon city of Manaus, Brazil, in October 2013. The mayor of World Cup venue Manaus is promising to "dazzle the world", dismissing reports in a London tabloid that described his city as a "crime-ridden hell-hole".
The Arena da Amazonia stadium in the Amazon city of Manaus, Brazil, in October 2013. The mayor of World Cup venue Manaus is promising to "dazzle the world", dismissing reports in a London tabloid that described his city as a "crime-ridden hell-hole". -- FILE PHOTO: AP

MANAUS, Brazil (AP) - The mayor of World Cup venue Manaus is promising to "dazzle the world", dismissing reports in a London tabloid that described his city as a "crime-ridden hell-hole".

Mayor Arthur Virgilio hit back with humour at suggestions that the Amazon city could be dangerous for World Cup fans. Britain's Prince Charles has visited several times without being bitten by alligators, he said. Elton John wants to perform in Manaus' World Cup stadium, "and I hope no snake hurts him".

On a more serious note, the mayor suggested to reporters on Tuesday Dec 10, 2013, that teams which have expressed misgivings about playing in the city's draining heat and humidity were making excuses.

"We want to dazzle the world and we know we can do it," he said.

The Daily Mirror this week called Manaus "murderous" and said England fans "will risk their lives" if they travel to the city for England's Group D match against Italy on June 14.

"I don't read the Daily Mirror," responded the mayor.