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May 5, 2013

Football: Blatter calls for more Asian teams at World Cup


FIFA president Sepp Blatter called on Friday for more berths for Asian teams at future editions of 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 andSouth American teams, stressing that Asiaprovides 50 percent of the body's revenues with Europe contributing less than 20 percent.
"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.

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