FIFA executive to decide on World Cup rotation policy

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Zurich, Oct 29: FIFA's executive committee is expected to drop its controversial World Cup rotation policy when it meets at the organisation's headquarters in Zurich today.

World soccer's governing body decided in 2000 that it would rotate its most prestigious tournament around its six continental confederations, with South Africa winning the bid to host Africa's first World Cup in 2010.

The policy has been widely criticised for restricting competition with European soccer federations particularly opposed to the current practice.

The Europeans argue that their continent is the powerbase of world soccer and should therefore be able to host its biggest event more than once every 24 years.

The bidding process for the 2014 World Cup due to be held in South America has heightened opposition to the rotation scheme, after Brazil emerged as the sole candidate for the event.

The executive committee is due to confirm Brazil as the 2014 hosts tomorrow.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was a keen advocate for the rotation policy but has since suggested he is in favour of dropping it.

In May, Blatter said the executive committee would consider returning to a system where any country could bid to host a World Cup, providing their confederation had not hosted the previous one.

FIFA officials later indicated this could be extended to cover the previous two World Cups, meaning that confederations such as Europe could hold the tournament no more than once every 12 years.

Opposition is still expected from other members of the executive board, including FIFA's Trinidadian vice president Jack Warner and American board member Chuck Blazer.

Warner and Blazer are the president and general secretary of the CONCACAF region, which would be next in turn to host the 2018 World Cup should the rotation policy be continued.

Today's executive board meeting is also set to approve new regulations concerning players' agents and club licensing and to authorise a uniform code for elections within FIFA's member associations.

The board will also hear the latest reports on preparations for the 2010 World Cup.

It is also expected to announce what role its newly-formed ethics committee will have in the bidding process for future World Cups.

Reuters>

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