KEIR RADNEDGE in SAO PAULO: Further tinkering with the World Cup qualifying system and the composition of the executive committee is on agenda for FIFA once the 2024 finals are out of the way.
The 14-member Oceania confederation in the South Pacific has been pushing steadily at the door of the world federation in pursuit of a direct-entry slot into the finals and a second representative on the exco in addition to its president.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who will be seeking re-election next year, hinted at consideration of both claims when he addressed Oceania yesterday on his whistle-stop tour of confederations ahead of the world federation’s congress here.
Dealing with World Cup access, Blatter said: “We will look at mechanisms in the future which would guarantee Oceania a direct qualifying place in future World Cup finals.”
As for the exco place, he said: “We shall look into the composition of the executive committee. To have a second representative is a logical approach but it has to be dealt with by all the members of FIFA, not only the executive committee, on how we can achieve such a wish and desire.”
Oceania lost its hard-won right of entry to the World Cup finals after Australia decamped to join the Asian confederation in 2006. Now the last Oceania nation standing has to play off against a ‘lucky loser’ from another confederation.
New Zealand lost to Mexico in the inter-continental play-offs for a place in Brazil