LONDON (AFP) – Any plans by Sepp Blatter to cut the number of European places at future World Cups will be opposed by Britain’s FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce.
Blatter, the president of FIFA, football’s global governing body, called on Friday for more berths for Asian teams at future editions of the World Cup.
The Swiss, speaking at a meeting of the Asian Football Confederation in Kuala Lumpur, said FIFA should allow more Asian teams at the expense of European and South American nations, stressing that Asia provides 50 percent of the body’s revenues with Europe contributing less than 20 percent.
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 France football great Michel Platini, the head of European governing body UEFA, who is expected to bid for the FIFA presidency in 2015.
Because of the contribution of the four constituent ‘Home Nations’ of the United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – in the creation of football, the quartet have their own FIFA vice-president.
That post is currently held by Northern Ireland’s Boyce and he undoubtedly spoke for many within European football when he voiced opposition to any attempts to reduce the continent’s World Cup representation.
“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,” Boyce said Friday. “I would say the same about South America and their power in world football.
“The number of places for Asian and African countries has already been increased and we have seen the emergence of teams like Nigeria and South Korea. If they want greater representation then they have to prove it on the field of play.
“I would say the current allocation is very fair and I am not in favour of a change.”
Blatter has been an enthusiast for taking the World Cup to first-time hosts, with the 2018 edition due to be played in Russia and the 2022 tournament in the Gulf state of Qatar.