Friday, March 4, 2011

Blazer blasts World Cup decision...

Reprinted from ESPNSoccernet

FIFA's decision to allow South America a possible six slots at the 2014 World Cup has been blasted as "completely ludicrous'' by Chuck Blazer, the FIFA executive committee member from the USA and secretary general of CONCACAF.

FIFA will retain the same number of World Cup places for each confederation for the 2014 tournament but Brazil will take the hosts' spot given to South Africa for 2010.

South America has just 10 countries in its confederation CONMEBOL and already had four definite places without the hosts' spot, and the chance of another via a play-off.

Blazer also questioned why Africa should have five spots compared to CONCACAF's 3.5 given their relatively poor showing in the World Cup.

Blazer said: "It is completely ludicrous. I'm a great supporter of South American football but for them to have a possible six countries out of 10 is absurd. People say the hosts have always qualified as an extra but that is not true. The last two times we hosted the World Cup, in Mexico in 1986 and USA in 1994, we didn't get an extra spot - we only had two. Why should South America get an extra one? Everyone is protecting their own interests rather than doing what's right.''

CONCACAF had argued that with 40 member nations, one fifth of FIFA's total, they should have four automatic slots rather three with one possible via a play-off.

Blazer also pointed out that the success of Mexico and the USA in qualifying from the group stage of the 2010 finals contrasted with Africa, where Ghana was the only country from that continent to advance.

He added: "We had a 67% success rate, Africa had a 16% success. If Africa can go from two places to five in the last 14 years, why can we not go from two to four. This decision also means we will have to completely re-do our whole qualifying system.''

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