FIFA president Sepp Blatter has told CONCACAF’s congress that the region deserves an extra automatic qualification spot at the World Cup.
To applause from the delegates. Baltter said: “If the World Cup will stay at 32 teams, then CONCACAF should have four teams.”
CONCACAF, the governing body which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, currently has three automatic places in the World Cup finals. A fourth team can qualify through a play-off against a nation from another confederation.
For the last World Cup in Brazil, Mexico qualified via this route after beating New Zealand in a two-legged game.
Coincidentally, Blatter is standing for a fifth term as president of FIFA in the election on May 29 and faces three opponents in former Portugal international Luis Figo, Dutch FA chief Michael van Praag and Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.
In recent elections Blatter, courtesy of his friend Jack Warner, could count on the support of the entire CONCACAF region. However, with Warner having quit in 2011 amid the cash for votes scandal, the block vote is a thing of the past.
Gordon Derrick, president of the Caribbean Football Union said there would be no recommendation from the body to vote for any one candidate.
“Because you didn’t vote (my way) that doesn’t mean you will be victimised, that’s not a democracy. Let’s not make a farce,” Derrick said.
“The Caribbean presidents will get together, casually, they will have read manifestos, discussed issues, we all think alike in a lot of ways so it is quite possible that whoever they decide to go with, it would be a majority of the islands.
“But there will be no mandate,” he added.
Blatter made a formal opening statement to congress, an advantage he enjoyed over rival candidates, each of whom will have to rely on their networking abilities and powers of persuasion, to engender support over the coming days.