FIFA President Sepp Blatter is personally backing Oceania's bid for an automatic berth in the 2006 World Cup. Blatter said that the spot, which was normally reserved for the defending champion, has now opened up because of a new rule because of which defending champions also have to qualify.
"I personally have propositioned, yes, they should have one because they are a full recognized confederation and it's the only confederation that has no automatic access to one of the competitions. They have automatic access to all other competitions, why shouldn't they have access to the World Cup?a said Blatter.
Blatter was speaking on the sidelines of the Asian Football Confederation annual congress, but he didn't sound as committed to his hosts and their request for five automatic spots for 2006.
Blatter said both issues are expected to be debated and possibly decided at the next FIFA Executive Committee meeting in December.