FIFA in talks for 36-team World Cup

ZURICH: International Football Federation (FIFA) said on Wednesday they would meet next month to discuss increasing the number of teams at the 2006 World Cup from 32 to 36.  

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said last month he was against plans to increase the Finalists but 2006 World Cup organising committee president Franz Beckenbauer said he had no problems with a bigger tournament.  

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol), angry at losing a World Cup qualifying place to Oceania, have asked for 36 teams at the Germany Finals.  

The FIFA executive committee ruled last December in Madrid that South America would have just four places in 2006. In the past the fifth country in the South American qualifying zone played off against the Oceania Zone winners for a place in the Finals.  

The last time an Oceania country made the Finals was at the 1982 World Cup in Spain when New Zealand qualified.  

Now either Australia or New Zealand are guaranteed a place in 2006. 

FIFA’s executive committee meet on May 3 to discuss the idea of a bigger World Cup. – AFP  

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