ZURICH - CONCACAF was thwarted in its
attempt to get an extra place at the World Cup when FIFA decided
to avoid meddling with the number of qualifying places allocated
to each continent for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
The confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean
Association Football, had hoped for four places up for grabs but
will have to make do with 3.5 after FIFA secretary general
Jerome Valcke said on Thursday the slots would be distributed in
exactly the same way as in 2006 and 2010.
The only difference in the spread of the 32 finalists for
2014 World Cup could be a possible six representatives from
South America as Brazil qualify automatically as hosts.
Europe will keep its 13 places - considered too many by
some observers - while Africa will have five, Asia 4.5,
CONCACAF 3.5 and Oceania 0.5. South American will have 4.5
places, not including Brazil.
A "half place" means a berth in a two-leg play-off tie
against a team from another confederation with the winners going
to the World Cup.
CONCACAF president Jack Warner had been pushing for four
full places for his region while the South Americans had been
worried that their 4.5 places could include hosts Brazil.
One tweak to the qualification process will be a draw to
decide who plays who in the play-offs rather than the pairings
being decided beforehand.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said the change was made to
appease CONCACAF after Costa Rica had to face a tough tie
against eventual semi-finalists Uruguay in the playoffs for the
2010 tournament in South Africa.
"CONCACAF was not so happy, but they have to admit the huge
majority of the executive committee wanted to maintain the
distribution we have had since 2006," Blatter told reporters.
"Because CONCACAF was not so eager to play another play-off
with South America, it was decided there shall be a draw for the
"It was a logical decision," he added. "One part is of this
is always a sporting matter, one part is a sports politics
matter, not everybody is happy but it is impossible to make
everyone happy in our world."
FIFA announced that Canada - the only candidate after
Zimbabwe pulled out - would host the women's World Cup in 2015
and the women's under-20 World Cup the year before.
Turkey was chosen to host the under-20 World Cup in 2013 and
New Zealand the same event two years later.
The under-17 tournaments will be staged in United Arab
Emirates in 2013 and Chile two years later.
FIFA, which controversially chose Qatar to host the 2022
World Cup, also continued the trend of taking the game to new
venues when it awarded the 2012 women's under-20 World Cup to
Hosting smaller tournaments is now seen as a stepping stone
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