KEIR RADNEDGE in MONTE CARLO: Michel Platini, freed from any constraints over FIFA politics, will push for an extra World Cup slot for Europe.
The French president of UEFA set out that target as one of his priorities if, as expected, he is re-elected next spring for a third term at the head of the European federation.
Leaders of other confederations have stated an intention to press for a higher number of World Cup slots and have been encouraged in their pursuit by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Platini, early this year, had suggested mischievously that the only way to accommodate all the extra teams would be to expand the finals to 36 or 40 teams.
In Monte Carlo for a series of UEFA meeting and the club competitions draws he explained that his proposal had not been serious but rather a riposte to other confederations’ land-grab attempts.
However, he believed that Europe – as the home of Germany and Holland who had finished winners and third at the finals in Brazil – deserved to regain at least one if not two slots.
Asked if he were concerned at losing more European slots, he said: “I am not worried about future World Cup numbers because I have no intention of losing a place but only to ask for one more because ‘we’ are world champions.
“Now we have 13 teams in the finals and ideally we want to go back to 15 as we were in 1998 because we have proved to be leaders in the world. I will go back to the executive committee of UEFA and ask for support to ask for one team more.
“The other confederations do it – so we will do it.”
Platini freed himself to concentrate solely on European interests after confirming speculation that he will not be a candidate next year for the presidency of FIFA.