Bribery charges land Blatter on slippery turf

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> UEFA calls for investigation into allegations against FIFA president Sepp Blatter accused of bribing a top African official to ensure election as president.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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A two-day workshop is currently going on in Japan for the 2002 World Cup and FIFA president Sepp Blatter had some tough words for Asian countries. He said they need to prove that they deserve an extra spot. But Blatter himself now needs to prove that he deserves to stay on as president after news of his involvement in a bribery scandal. England manager Sven Goran Eriksson was among the representatives of the 32 teams for the World Cup who attended the workshop. On the agenda are security measures, medical issues and even media nitty-gritties. Blatter also talked about how the Oceania zone, currently dominated by Australia, could get a dedicated spot at the next World Cup. That follows a change in rules whereby the defending champion will now have to qualify rather than get an automatic spot. Blatter, however, said Asia must prove that it deserves a dedicated fifth spot unlike the present 4 plus 1 arrangement. "For Asia and Africa, they want to get one slot more. They have to work on the field play, but they also have to work in the sports political scenario and try to find enough arguments to make sure that when the 31 remaining teams will be distributed for the 2006 World Cup then the arguments - I'm speaking of Asia now - the arguments shall be strong in order they can legitimately ask for one slot more," Blatter said. Blatter, however, may not stay long enough to implement all these changes. He is looking for another four-year term as president this May. But reports that he offered an African official a $100,000 bribe to vote for him in 1998 has now made UEFA demand an investigation against him.

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