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Friday, July 20, 2018

To fit in more sides from Africa & Asia,Michel Platini wants 40-team WC

Europe currently provides 13 of the 32 teams at the finals,compared with five from Africa.

Written by Reuters | London | Updated: June 7, 2018 10:26:23 am

UEFA chief Michel Platini wants the World Cup finals expanded to 40 teams from 2018 to allow more African and Asian countries into the tournament without reducing the number of European nations represented.

Europe currently provides 13 of the 32 teams at the finals,compared with five from Africa and four or five,depending on the winners of a playoff against a South American team,for the most populous continent Asia.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter wrote last week that Africa and Asia deserved more representation at soccer’s showpiece event because they had more member associations than Europe and South America.

Former France international Platini,widely regarded as the most likely successor to Swiss Blatter in the FIFA job,said by his own calculations that adding eight more teams would require extending the tournament by only three days.

“It’s good for everybody,” Platini told Britain’s Times newspaper in an interview. “I totally agree with Mr Blatter that we need more African and Asian (teams). But instead of taking away some European,we have to go to 40 teams. “We can add two African,two Asiatic,two American,one Oceania and one from Europe.”

European and South American countries have won all 19 versions of the World Cup.

FIFA to hold racism talks

FIFA will seek assurances from Russia’s 2018 World Cup leadership next week that they are taking action to eradicate racism from matches,while insisting ahead of talks that the country is not at risk of losing the tournament.

The problem of racism at matches in Russia was highlighted during a globally-televised Champions League match on Wednesday when CSKA Moscow fans hurled abuse at Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.

“We are dealing now with actual problems,” FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Sunday in London.

“We are not dealing with the problems that may happen somewhere in the world. It is the question of racism today,and I’m dealing with that today. And we will go back to the (FIFA) executive committee with what the situation is actually and what came with the last incidents we have had (in Russia).”

Blatter’s 27-member FIFA board includes the Russian sports minister,Vitaly Mutko. More immediately,FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke will hold talks in Moscow with 2018 World Cup chief executive Alexey Sorokin on Monday and Tuesday. The racism problem with be restricted to their one-to-one talks rather than featuring in the main organizing committee board meeting.

“There are sanctions but in order to prevent (racism) there is an educational program to have in place in Russia,” Valcke said,alongside Blatter.

Despite Blatter wanting teams kicked out of competitions if there is sustained racist abuse by fans,he sees no need to take FIFA tournaments away from whole countries blighted by racism in stadiums.

“I have never said they have to take the competition out (of the country) because you cannot take a whole competition out,” Blatter said. “It’s impossible.”

Blatter says it’s not only football’s responsibility to remove the scourge of racism from countries.

“I have to insist that racism and discrimination is in our society,” Blatter said. “It’s our society that brought it in football,and now we have to fight against that in our football. But we can only fight it in our football.”

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