Blatter wants to keep 32-team World Cup
By Brian Homewood
ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter is opposed to proposals to expand the number of teams at the World Cup and would like to keep the number of participants to 32 if he is re-elected, he said on Friday.
He also suggested playing more intercontinental playoffs to resolve the discussion about how many places should be awarded to each region, and that a continent which hosts the World Cup should wait at least 12 years before staging it again.
Blatter is standing for a fifth mandate as FIFA president on May 29 and two of his three challengers, former Portugal forward Luis Figo and Dutch FA president Michael van Praag, want to expand the World Cup to 48 and 40 teams respectively.
"I will tell you that we should remain with the system we have had, and the best system is the one with 32 teams," Blatter told reporters at FIFA headquarters.
"First of all, we have realized that 32 teams is the best mathematical system, because you can play it 28 or 30 days," added Blatter, who is runaway favorite to be re-elected.
"Secondly, the contracts we have for the next World Cups, they are all done with 32 teams."
FIFA will hold an executive committee meeting on the day after the presidential election to decide how to distribute places at the World Cup.
At the 2014 World Cup, Europe had 13 places, Africa 5, South America 4.5, CONCACAF 3.5, Asia 4.5, Oceania 0.5 and Brazil qualified as hosts. Continued...