Sunday 17 December 2017

Could UEFA statement mean Blatter staying as FIFA boss?

By announcing UEFA will be looking for an increase of two extra places in the World Cup finals in Russia 2018, has general secretary Gianni Infantino consolidated Sepp Blatter's position and damaged the election prospects of challengers Luis Figo, Prince Ali of Jordan and Michael Van Praag?

24 teams in the Euro 2016 finals comes from an expanded field of 53 nations in the qualifiers. Encouragement for the likes of Gibraltar, Andorra and San Marino is good but genuine competition is better. The World Cup tournament was expanded from 24 to 32 in 1998. Two years ago Blatter (pictured) hinted that he'd like to see more African and Asian nations in the finals.

UEFA President Michel Platini said he'd expand to 40 with UEFA getting just one extra place. Now UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino says, "19 of the top 32 ranked associations are European. We could ask for more than one."

Voting members of the various other confederations worldwide are expected to be less than impressed.


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