Oceania move corrects injustice: FIFA - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Oceania move corrects injustice: FIFA

By Paul Mulvey 18/12/2002 11:41:18 PM Comments (0)

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said soccer's governing body had corrected an injustice by granting Oceania direct entry to the 2006 World Cup.

FIFA's executive committee on Tuesday unanimously supported Oceania which had been a full FIFA member since 1997, but was the only one of the six confederations not to have had at least one automatic place at the World Cup.

"It was important to make sure Oceania finally had direct access to the World Cup," Blatter said on Wednesday.

"It was only right and just because Oceania was recognised by FIFA in 1996.

"We bestowed upon Oceania all of the rights except one slot at the World Cup and that was unjust.

"We have corrected an implicit injustice."

Blatter said FIFA's plan to rotate the World Cup venue was in place and Australia's chances of playing host would be discussed at the next executive meeting in March.

In August, Blatter met with Soccer Australia and prime minister John Howard who expressed a desire to host the World Cup as soon as possible.

"Australia is the only country in Oceania which could organise the World Cup with 32 teams," Blatter said.

"But the question of when the rotation stops in Oceania is a matter for the FIFA meeting in Zurich in March."

The 2010 tournament will be held in Africa and with a deadline of December 31, South Africa, Morocco and Libya were the only bids so far.

But Oceania may have a lengthy wait to host the tournament with South America already asking for consideration for 2014 as the tournament has not been played there since Argentina in 1978.

The South Americans were livid yesterday when their berths at the World Cup were reduced from 4.5 to four after they had pushed to lift their quota to five.

Even though the South American confederation CONMEBOL has produced nine of the 17 World Cup winners it only has 10 members and Blatter said four was a fair representation.

"If they have five as they did this year, that would be 50 per cent of their membership," he said.

"If they had four qualifiers that is still 40 per cent and that is not the case with any other confederation."

Along with Oceania, North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) was the other winner, jumping from three places to 3.5.

CONCACAF earned promotion after its three teams in Korea and Japan this year - Mexico, the United States and Costa Rica - finished eighth, 11th and 19th respectively.

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