FIFA president Sepp Blatter called Thursday for American and Caribbean nations to get a fourth World Cup place as he stepped up his re-election drive.
Addressing the CONCACAF Congress, Blatter said he believed that if the World Cup remained a 32-team event, teams from the region should be guaranteed four places.
CONCACAF, made up of countries from North and Central America and the Caribbean, currently has three World Cup berths with a fourth country fighting a play-off against a team from the Oceania zone.
“It is my view that if the World Cup will stay at 32 teams, then CONCACAF should have four teams,” Blatter said at the meeting in the Bahamas.
His remarks come after the most successful World Cup in history for the region with three teams — the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica — advancing beyond the group stage for the first time at last year’s finals in Brazil.
Blatter’s comments come as the veteran FIFA leader seeks a fifth term as the most powerful man infootball.
However the FIFA president’s opponents have expressed fears that horsetrading over the allocation of places at the 2018 World Cup could influence the vote.
Europe also wants extra World Cup places and Blatter has in the past encouraged Africa to demand more.
FIFA’s executive committee will decide on the distribution of World Cup places on May 30, a day after Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, Michel van Praag and Luis Figo go up against Blatter in the FIFA presidential election in Zurich. – Agence France-Presse