Blatter urges bid changes

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The Independent Online

The World Cup bidding process will be put under the spotlight in Zurich today during the first executive meeting of Fifa, the game's world governing body, since the furore following the awarding of the 2006 competition to Germany.

The World Cup bidding process will be put under the spotlight in Zurich today during the first executive meeting of Fifa, the game's world governing body, since the furore following the awarding of the 2006 competition to Germany.

The president of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, who favours the rotation of the sporting event by continent and was backing South Africa's bid, will instigate a wide-ranging discussion into the selection process at the meeting.

South Africa's bid organisers have already requested that Germany's victory in the race to host the 2006 event be examined by an arbitration panel. But Blatter also wants the 203 national associations to discuss a readjustment in the composition of the executive committee to end the European stranglehold on power.

The executive committee meeting will be a tough test for Blatter, who plans to stand for second term in 2002, and is facing a stiff challenge after failing to deliver the vote for South Africa in Zurich in July.

"Too much power lies with one confederation [Europe]," Blatter said. "We have to find a new balance, otherwise Europe will always find a way of organising World Cups. During the last executive committee I told members that we have the proof it is necessary to rotate the World Cup through the six confederations."

The principle of rotation, a limitation in the number of candidates by continent and the appointment of hosts for two successive World Cup tournaments at the same time will also be discussed.

"I have hope that a solution can be found," Blatter said. The South Africans contend that the final 12-11 outcome in Germany's favour should not be allowed to stand because the Oceania delegate, Charles Dempsey, was mandated to vote for South Africa, but instead abstained, claiming he was put "under intolerable pressure" by unnamed figures.

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