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SBD Global/May 6, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Sepp Blatter Calls For More Berths From Asian Countries At Future World Cups

FIFA President Sepp Blatter called for "more berths for Asian teams at future stagings of the World Cup," and said that the issue "would be addressed at a meeting later this month,'' according to the AFP. Blatter said that more Asian teams "should enter the tournament, 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%. Blatter: "We have the right and we have the obligation and the responsibility to bring this matter to discussion. We have to do that." FIFA is expected to discuss the matter at its May 30-31 congress in Mauritius. A reduction in the number of European places "would be seen as a slight" to UEFA President Michel Platini, who "is expected to bid for" the FIFA presidency in '15. The newly elected president of the Asian Football Confederation, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim of Bahrain, also said "Asia deserves more" (AFP, 5/3). The AFP also reported Asia's new football boss backed Blatter "for a controversial fifth term" on Friday, as the veteran Swiss "dropped a strong hint that he may break promises to step down" in '15. Sheikh Salman: "Of course he's (Blatter) always been a supporter of Asia and if he can fulfill and continue as a president, of course I will support him" (AFP, 5/3).

BRITAIN FIRES BACK: The PA's Martyn Ziegler reported Britain FIFA VP Jim Boyce "will oppose a threatened move" by Blatter to "cut the number of European places at future World Cups." Boyce insists Europe's 13 spots out of 32 "is a fair proportion given the continent's influence on football." Boyce said, "Europe plays a very significant part in world football, and I believe 13 places in the World Cup is a very fair reflection of that. I would say the same about South America and their power in world football" (PA, 5/3).
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