No joint World Cup

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Fifa, football's world governing body, yesterday ruled out any possibility of Japan and South Korea jointly hosting the World Cup in 2002.

Joao Havelange, the Fifa president, responding to a request from the president of the Asian Football Association that such a move be considered, said it was against Fifa rules.

"We know from experience that organising something like the World Cup, is very complex, even within one country," Andreas Herren, the Fifa spokesman, said.

"Taking it from there to two countries; setting up local organising committees in both countries, flying teams from one country to another and deciding who would hold opening and closing matches, would be even more difficult and make the cost incredibly high."

Sultan Ahmad Shah of Malaysia, the AFA president, wrote to Havelange proposing a joint 2002 World Cup because of the intense rivalry between the two nations. South Korea and Japan both sent in bids in September last year.