England’s World Cup future to be safeguarded by Platini’s proposal

ENGLAND’S hopes of qualifying for future World Cups will not be hindered by plans from world governing body Fifa to increase the number of African and Asian participants, if Uefa president Michel Platini’s counter-proposal to expand the competition from 32 to 40 teams from 2018 takes off.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said last week Africa would be “woefully under-represented” at next year’s World Cup in Brazil, with just five of its 54 member associations present and that “this flawed state of affairs must be rectified”.

Asia, meanwhile, will have a maximum of five participants, depending on the result of a play-off between Jordan and two-time winners Uruguay.

By contrast, play-offs, to be played next month, will finalise the 13-strong list of European nations jetting to Brazil next summer.

And Platini believes there is a simple solution to ensuring the same number of European nations are represented at forthcoming World Cups in Russia and Qatar, as well as future tournaments.

“I totally agree with Mr Blatter that we need more African and Asian [teams]. But instead of taking away some European, we have to go to 40 teams,” he said.

“We can add two African, two Asiatic, two American, one Oceania and one from Europe. “It’s good for everybody.”