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Blatter says Europe no certainty to host 2018 World Cup

Chris Lines / Associated Press


JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Not so fast, Europe. The president of soccer's world governing body thinks Asia or North and Central America -- including possibly the United States -- could put on just as good a World Cup in 2018.

"Europe think they are privileged and they should have the World Cup, even in rotation, every third time, but why? There is no written rule they can have it. Other confederations have shown they can organize it," FIFA president Sepp Blatter said.

FIFA, which is organized by continental confederations, has been rotating the World Cup among continents. After Japan and South Korea co-hosted the 2002 World Cup, Germany staged for Europe in 2006, South Africa will host in 2010 and Brazil is the only bidder for 2014, which has been designated for South America, meaning Asia or North America, Central America and the Caribbean should get a chance to host the world's most-watched sporting event before Europe does again.

"When it goes to rotation, the next confederation should be North America or CONCACAF, unless you consider the Americas together," Blatter said Saturday. "This is being studied and is in discussion and it will be very interesting."

Blatter was in Indonesia to attend Sunday's Asian Cup final between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and said the event had been a "resounding success."

Asked whether that success would boost the chances of Asia hosting the World Cup in 2018, Blatter said he favors continued rotation between continents. However Europe wants the event to return there in 2018, with England among the leading bidders.

A decision on the 2018 host continent is likely to take place in November.

Blatter mentioned Australia, China and India as three nations in soccer's Asian region capable of hosting the next World Cup awarded to that confederation.

Meanwhile, Blatter also foreshadowed further moves to be made against faking injuries, during matches.

He said a player whose injury, supposed or real, requires a stoppage to the game, may have to remain off the field for a period of about five minutes.

"The expulsion for five minutes could be a good solution, but you would need timekeepers on the bench," Blatter said. "It will be back on the agenda next year, at the end of February or start of March when the board will meet again.

"Definitely something has to be done," he said.

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Beckenbauer backs England to host 2018 World Cup



LONDON (Reuters) - FIFA member Franz Beckenbauer believes the 2018 World Cup should be held in Europe and that England is the best candidate to host the finals.

Beckenbauer, a member of FIFA's 24-strong executive committee, which decides the World Cup hosts, said the quality of England's league and stadia made the country the favourites.

"2010 is South Africa, then because of the FIFA rotation in 2014 it will be South America, probably Brazil, and then it's the end of the rotation," Beckenbauer told BBC Five Live radio on Sunday.


"It has to come back to Europe and then England, of course, is the first choice to host the World Cup in 2018."

Beckenbauer, a World Cup winner as a player and manager who headed the organising committee of last year's finals in his native Germany, said: "There is no better country in Europe to host it in 2018.

"The Premier League at the moment is the best league in Europe, the stadiums are outstanding and the new Wembley Stadium, and the club stadiums, are in the best condition ever.

"So it's logical to bring the 2018 World Cup to England."

Beckenbauer added: "England is the favourite...Germany is out because we hosted the 2006 World Cup, Italy is not in a very stable condition, France was in 1998 and Spain I don't know."

England won the 1966 World Cup as hosts and the government, led by new Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has firmly backed an English bid.

However, England's Football Association still have a very long way to go.

The future of FIFA's continental rotation policy is up for discussion by the game's ruling body, which will announce the 2014 hosts in October, while its president Sepp Blatter has said the 2018 tournament could go to North America.

The United States, Australia and China have all expressed interest in hosting the event in 11 years' time, while in Europe the three Benelux countries -- Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg -- have already announced a combined bid.

The final decision is due to be taken in 2012, shortly after London hosts the Olympic Games.

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