Europe deserve extra World Cup slot, says Platini

Europe deserve extra World Cup slot, says Platini
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Published March 22nd, 2015 - 16:51 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Michel Platini
Michel Platini

UEFA president Michel Platini has called for an additional place for Europe at the World Cup rather than any reduction.

Platini told Austria's APA news agency in a written interview he would fight to defend Europe's current quota of 13 finalists amid suggestions from FIFA president Joseph Blatter this could be reduced.

Europe "would deserve another place if you look at the strength of our teams and the excellent results of the last World Cups," Platini said.

Platini's comments published Sunday come ahead of the annual congress in Vienna Tuesday of football's European organizing body when the 59-year-old former France international is standing unopposed for another four-year term.

Platini has called for a change in FIFA's leadership, and European federations are also backing rival candidates to Blatter, who is seeking a fifth term as FIFA president in elections on May 29 at the FIFA Congress.

The issue of starting places at World Cup finals appears to developing into a contentious campaign issue.

European teams have the largest contingent of the confederations with 13 of the 32 World Cup places, and European teams - Italy (2006), Spain (2010) and Germany (2014) - have won the last three finals. In four tournaments since 2002, 12 of the 16 semi-finalists and six of the eight finalists have been from Europe.

Blatter, whose main support is outside Europe, wants FIFA's confederations to pitch for more slots.

On Friday, FIFA's executive committee agreed to hold a meeting on May 30 - a day after the presidential elections - to decide how many qualifying slots each continent will get for the next World Cup.

The newly-composed executive committee are to decide on the 31 slots alongside Russia, who qualify automatically as hosts.

FIFA's six confederations will have the opportunity at the meeting to present their cases for additional places for their teams.

Blatter in his function as FIFA president will open the UEFA Congress with a welcome speech.

The three candidates running against him for the FIFA presidency - former Portuguese international Luis Figo, Netherlands Football Association chairman Michael van Praag and Jordan Football Association president Prince Ali bin al Hussein - will have the opportunity to present their ideas during the meeting.

The UEFA executive committee was meeting Sunday and Monday when delegates will discuss the format and draw criteria for European qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.

The committee will also be given an update on preparations for Euro 2016 in France.

© 2015 dpa GmbH

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