Football: Extra Uefa chance

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The Independent Online
English clubs have been given an extra chance to secure a place in next season's Uefa Cup. The Football Association has been allocated three places for the Intertoto Cup, a summer competition for 64 teams. The prize for reaching the semi-finals is inclusion in the Uefa Cup.

A team finishing as low as 10th in the Premiership could qualify for the Intertoto Cup, which starts on 25 June. The drawback is that the competition lasts all summer, thus denying a club's players any break.

The sudden-death format used to resolve drawn matches in Japan's J-League could be introduced in the 1998 World Cup finals in France, a Fifa official said yesterday.

In the J-League, the team who score the first goal in extra time win the game. If the result is still deadlocked after extra time, a penalty shoot-out follows.

A Fifa spokesman, Andreas Herren, said a proposal was before the 1998 organising committeee to adopt the format from the second-phase round.

"The proposal was submitted by Fifa's working group, Task 2000, which was given the job of finding ways and means to make soccer more attractive to the public," Herren said.

Mexico, financially and politically in turmoil, has told Fifa that it no longer wants to host the 2002 World Cup finals, leaving Japan and South Korea the only runners in an all-Asian contest. Fifa said yesterday it received a communication from Mexican officials on Tuesday - the deadline for confirmation of bids - informing it of "their decision to discontinue their bid".

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