Blatter: Add extra Asia World Cup slots

FIFA president Sepp Blatter called for more berths for Asian teams at the World Cup and said the issue would be addressed at a meeting later this month.

  • Published: 3/05/2013 at 02:49 PM
  • Newspaper section: news

FIFA chief Sepp Blatter at a press conference in Zurich on Sept 28, 2012. Blatter called for more berths for Asian teams at the World Cup and said the issue would be addressed at a meeting later this month.

Blatter said FIFA should allow more Asian teams at the expense of European and South American teams, stressing that Asia provides 50% of the body's revenues with Europe contributing less than 20%.

"We have the right and we have the obligation and the responsibility to bring this matter to discussion. We have to do that," he said, referring to FIFA's May 30-31 congress in Mauritius.

Asia currently has four automatic spots at the World Cup, with another available if an Asian team wins an intercontinental play-off. Europe has 13 places out of the total of 32.

A reduction in the number of European places would be seen as a slight to Michel Platini, the head of European football body UEFA, who is expected to bid for the FIFA presidency in 2015.

Newly elected Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa also said "Asia deserves more", pointing to international successes such as South Korea's bronze medal at last year's Olympics.

"I think this is something that even the president (Blatter) addressed today in our congress and I think it has to be looked at," he said.

"(The 2014 World Cup in Brazil) is very close but we have to look in the future where the interest of Asian teams and national associations is.

"The teams have progressed very well in the last few years and I hope we can earn more slots in the World Cup.

"I'm sure it would be an incentive for them to do well and hopefully develop the game more in their countries, and the competition will be greater."

He added: "There's always the 4.5 slots so far that we have now but I think there are other teams which I feel are in the same calibre who can progress and give good results."

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