Plans to increase WC finalists mooted

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

FIFA is considering two possible plans that would increase the number of World Cup finalists from 32 to 36.

New York:

FIFA is considering two possible plans that would increase the number of World Cup finalists from 32 to 36, according to a FIFA executive committee member. Both plans would see nine groups of four teams - one more group than in the 2002 tournament. The group winners and the top five second-place teams would advance to the second round. Under the plan being advanced by South America's governing body, the other four second-place teams would go to a playoff, with the two winners advancing. The only other possibility, an official said, would be to have the top seven second-place teams advance. If the first plan were used, the World Cup finals would have an extra eight matches. If the second plan is put in place, there would be six extra matches. The South American confederation, which had five teams at the 2002 World Cup finals, proposed increasing the number of teams in the world's premier football tournament after losing a spot for the 2006 competition in Germany. Under the CONMEBOL plan, Europe would get two extra spots, South America one, and the fourth would be decided in a playoff between Asia and CONCACAF. UEFA president Lennart Johansson, who is also a FIFA vice president, has supported the bid to increase the number of finalists to 36. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said he was against it and CONCACAF president Jack Warner said that it would be unlikely because of existing contracts and plans for the 2006 event. "It is easy to say 36 is good," Blatter said last month at an international sports convention. "But implementing such a solution would be very difficult". A vote on the proposal is due at the end of the month. (AP)

Topics : Football
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