Football: Murdoch backs Blatter plan

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THE MEDIA tycoon Rupert Murdoch has backed a controversial proposal by Sepp Blatter, the president of football's global governing body, Fifa, to hold the World Cup every two years.

However, Murdoch has suggested there could be one major difference - that it is disputed by clubs, not countries. "I think the World Cup is a great international event, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be every second year," Murdoch, whose Sky television company wants to buy Manchester United, said. "If we don't have a World Cup between countries every two years, maybe it will be right to have - in between the quadrennial World Cup that you have today - a World Cup of clubs.

"Football is so strong and so popular in so many parts of the world that we should see major international competition more than every four years," Murdoch added.

Uefa yesterday rejected Blatter's World Cup plan, saying it would have "negative consequences." European football's ruling body "not only objected to the idea but also condemned the way the project was presented, without prior consultation of any of the relevant bodies."

Uefa is "of the opinion that the project would produce negative consequences in sporting, medical and commercial contexts and have a damaging effect on domestic competitions."

Uefa countered that "there are other ways" of strengthening national teams and federations", and it "noted with regret that the project could be a matter of personal prestige".

Fifa will this week try to synchronize major competitions like the European Championship, the Copa America and the African Nations' Cup.