Europe's world influence eroded

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Europe's influence in global football was weakened yesterday when Fifa, the sport's world governing body, expanded its executive committee from 21 members to 24, by giving more seats to Asia, Africa and Oceania.

The move was seen a victory for the Fifa president, Joao Havelange, in his power struggle with Uefa's Lennart Johansson. Uefa, the European governing body, which has eight seats, will need more help from other confederations to win its arguments in the decision-making process.

Havelange and Johansson have come into conflict across the table several times in the past two years. Despite opposition from Havelange, Uefa forced a Fifa rule change last month to allow joint-hosting of the World Cup. South Korea and Japan will do that in 2002.

Havelange also announced that, beginning in 1999, Fifa would give $1m (pounds 640,000) to each member association over a four-year period. The total membership of Fifa is now 198.

Fifa also agreed to add to its membership Andorra, Anguilla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the British Virgin Islands, Guam and Montserrat. Palestine remains a provisional member.