"--IANS/CMC"
Belo Horizonte (Brazil), July 8 - FIFA president Sepp Blatter said the number of World Cup places for Africa and Asia are unfair considering the large number of associations in the two confederations.

Blatter discussed the prospect of changing the number of World Cup places given to each confederation in his column of the latest issue of FIFA Weekly, official magazine of the world's football governing body, reports Xinhua.

In purely mathematical terms the Africans are at a severe disadvantage compared to their rivals, Blatter wrote, even though the Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) has exactly the same number of member associations as UEFA (54), it is only represented at the World Cup with five teams, whereas Europe has 13.

The same applies to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC): Four places at the World Cup is unfair given the number of member associations (46), he added in his column titled It is time for a new deal.

We need a new deal, preferably sooner rather than later, the 78-year old concluded.

Blatter praised the performance of teams from the African confederation and North and Central America (CONCACAF) in the beginning of the article.

The Africans have played good football and shown technical skill. For the first time, two of their number made the last sixteen, he wrote.

Three of their (CONCACAF) four teams at the finals made it to the knockout stages.

Blatter also commented on the three European giants who failed to qualify from their groups. It is no coincidence that three former world champions -- England, Italy and Spain -- went home after the group stage, he wrote.

--IANS/CMC

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