Blatter urges Asia to seek more World Cup places
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter urged Asian soccer leaders to push for more World Cup berths at the expense of Europe and South America, an issue which could help his own re-election prospects.
Blatter said "we have to have a better balance" because the two most powerful continents could provide 19 of the 32 teams in Brazil next year.
The FIFA leader spoke to the 46 Asian Football Confederation member delegations at their annual meeting that "you must be aware of your powerhouse."
Asian teams compete for just four guaranteed World Cup berths, with a fifth available in an intercontinental playoff.
Blatter's proposal to increase Asia's World Cup representation at the expense of Europe should broaden his voting bloc against UEFA President Michel Platini, who is expected to run for the FIFA presidency.
Blatter also noted that half of FIFA's revenue -- which totals more than $1 billion a year -- comes from Asian broadcasters and sponsors.
The Americas provides 30 percent and "Europe is left with less than 20 percent," Blatter said. "Play your power but play it well in solidarity with the others."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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