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By ESPN Staff
Sep 17, 2008

Quota change would aid Africa chances - Blatter

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 17 (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has hinted that future World Cups could see a change in continental quotas to reflect soccer's international growth away from its traditional power bases of Europe and South America.

Responding to a question about Africa's chances of producing a World Cup winning side, Blatter told a news conference on Wednesday that teams from outside Europe were disadvantaged because they had fewer representatives at the finals.

"We will have to change the numbers but we'll do it step-by-step," the Swiss head of soccer's governing body said.

"One day we should open (the World Cup) more."

Africa will have six representatives for the first time at the 2010 finals, five qualifiers plus host nation South Africa.

"I do hope that with all the power of Africa behind them, we'll see an African team in the semi-finals," Blatter said. "And if they get to the semi-finals then why not go higher to the final.

"But the problem is numbers. Europe have 13 teams, so it is easier for them to ensure some representation in the later rounds.

"Nowadays everybody can beat anybody. We saw many surprises come out in the latest round of World Cup qualifiers," he added.

Concluding a four day visit to the next World Cup hosts South Africa, Blatter said he had been pleased with progress towards the organising of the 2010 event but still offered some advice.

"What I am missing is the feeling of the World Cup. There needs to be more marketing of the event. Africa needs to tell the world it's ready to host the event."

Blatter toured stadiums in Cape Town and Johannesburg and met with top political figures during his trip.

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