Football: England counter German claim over World Cup

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The Independent Online
European football's governing body has no right to pick a single country to bid for the 2006 World Cup finals, England's campaign team said yesterday.

"Uefa does not have a role in the process," England's campaign director, Alec McGiven, said at the Football Expo '98 in Singapore, after Germany had said earlier in the day that both countries had agreed to let Uefa decide which of their rival bids would go forward. Only Fifa, who have predictably dismissed the idea that England and Germany could be allowed to share the finals, can choose which country will host the World Cup.

"We're quite used to competing with Germany on the playing field," McGiven said, "and we now find ourselves competing with them in the corridors of football power."

The European Union Commisssion said yesterday that it would thwart any attempt by Fifa to circumvent the 1995 Bosman court decision on player transfers. In Singapore on Tuesday, Fifa's secretary general, Sepp Blatter, said he would seek new strategies to restore some form of transfer fees in an attempt to reward poor clubs for nurturing new talent.

The EU Commission also said it would send a letter to Fifa, warning its practice of licensing players' agents could contravene EU law, the first step in what could become another protracted battle.