SAO PAULO - The armadillo has been a hit with Brazilian fans as the choice for the 2014 World Cup mascot, but the three names local organizers picked for public voting have not pleased a lot of Brazilians.
Online polls conducted by local media have shown the vast majority of the people in the country don't like the names listed by local organizers - Amijubi, Fuleco and Zuzeco.
In three days, more than 23,000 people have signed an online petition demanding a "more democratic" approach in which fans could make suggestions. The petition wants local organizers to allow fans to write-in new names, making the five most popular choices available for voting. It says it's important the mascot has a "decent name."
But despite the public demand for change, organizers said last week that they will not add or remove names to the list available for public voting.
"The names will not be revised," the local organizing committee said in a statement. "We are confident that after the Brazilian public votes to decide the name of the mascot, it will start developing along with the character."
FIFA said the three names come from a mix of Brazilian words which represent friendliness, joy and ecology - all characteristics linked to the Brazilian people and the country.
Amijubi comes from the words "amizade" (friendship) and "jubilo" (joy), Fuleco comes from "futebol" (football) and "ecologia" (ecology), while Zuzeco comes from "azul" (blue) and "ecologia" (ecology).
FIFA said the three options were picked "after a vote by a high-profile judging committee" in Brazil, including former Brazil player Bebeto and Brazilian celebrities and politicians. The initial list had 450 names, according to local organizers, who said the names which made the final list had to meet several legal requirements in order to be approved.
Polls on the ig.com and the UOL.com web portals show that more than 75 percent of voters didn't like any of the three names.
The winner of the public voting on FIFA's website will be announced on Nov. 25.
The three-banded armadillo, which is in danger of extinction, rolls up into the shape of a ball when threatened and is found in northeastern Brazil. The mascot carries the colors of the Brazilian flag. It is yellow, with green shorts and a blue shell and tail. It is dressed in a white shirt with the words "Brazil 2014" written on it.
The mascot of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was a leopard called Zakumi.
FIFA and Adidas recently announced that Brazilians voted to call the World Cup ball "Brazuca," an informal word often used to describe national pride. They said the name "symbolizes emotion" and "goodwill to all," mirroring Brazil's "approach to football."
Earlier this year, organizers announced "All in one rhythm" as the official World Cup slogan, representing the "unique flavor that Brazil will bring" to the event.
Brazil will host the World Cup for the first time since 1950.