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FIFA: World Cup expansion unlikely

ESPN staff
October 29, 2013 « Tsonga's London hopes ended | Chartbeat test »
Jerome Valcke has poured cold water on Michel Platini's World Cup proposal © Getty Images
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Michel Platini's proposal to expand the World Cup from 32 to 40 teams is unlikely to be implemented, according to FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke.

UEFA president Platini had said on Monday that he was looking to add eight extra teams to the finals from 2018, when the tournament will be held in Russia.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is also keen to introduce more African and Asian teams at the expense of European sides.

"Never say never, but it's unlikely," said Valcke, who is second to Blatter at FIFA.

Europe currently have 13 places, while Africa have five. Asia have four and a play-off place.

Platini's plan would see eight groups of five introduced at the finals, instead of the current eight groups of four.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has also poured cold water on the plans, saying it is "unrealistic" to expect the country to be able to accommodate the eight extra teams in 2018.

"We've already got to the stage of discussing the calendar," said Mutko. "Everything's possible, but you need to respect the country that's carrying out the preparations for the tournament.

"We're preparing on the basis that 32 teams will be taking part."

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