Rio de Janeiro: World football's governing body FIFA has released a statement defending its selection process for naming the 2014 World Cup mascot.

Brazilian fans have been critical of FIFA's decision to force the public to choose between three names selected by an independent panel, reports.

The names - Amijubi, Fuleco and Zuzeco - have this week been put to a public vote in Brazil's media."When the original plan was drafted we thought about having an open system in which the public could suggest names," the FIFA statement said on Friday.

"However it was impossible to put this process into practice due to the complexity of legislation regarding intellectual property."FIFA earlier said the names had been coined by a panel of experts who used fusions of Portuguese words meaning joy, ecology, football and blue.

An online petition calling for a more democratic approach to the naming of the mascot - a rare Brazilian species of armadillo received 30,000 signatures by Saturday morning.


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