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CUTTING THE CUP: FIFA TO SHORTEN EVENT BY ABOUT FIVE DAYS
Published July 8, 1998
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea "is likely to be up to a week shorter than the current tournament," according to a report in USA TODAY. Blatter said that first-round group games "probably would be condensed, allowing the tournament to finish in about 28 days. At 33 days, France 98 is the longest ever." Blatter: "Thirty-three days is really a long period for everybody. To attract world attention for 33 days is not easy" (USA TODAY, 7/8). SEPPING OUT: In Toronto, Chris Young wrote that Blatter's "intrusions" during the World Cup "come down every few days," as he has "railed about referees not calling the new rulebook" and "mused inanely about perhaps needing professional referees." Young: "Imagine David Stern or Gary Bettman ripping referees in the midst of a final series. Or changing the rules right before the Stanley Cup. It wouldn't happen and it shouldn't" (TORONTO STAR, 7/8). NOTES: FIFA said yesterday that all 240 dope tests through the first 60 matches of the World Cup have been negative. Under FIFA rules, two players from each team are tested after every match following a random draw made at halftime (REUTERS/ESPN SportsZone, 7/8).