Football: Michel Platini floats idea of 40 teams in World Cup finals from 2018

Uefa chief Michel Platini (above) wants the World Cup finals expanded to 40 teams from 2018 to allow more African and Asian countries in the tournament but without reducing the number of European nations. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Uefa chief Michel Platini (above) wants the World Cup finals expanded to 40 teams from 2018 to allow more African and Asian countries in the tournament but without reducing the number of European nations. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Uefa chief Michel Platini wants the World Cup finals expanded to 40 teams from 2018 to allow more African and Asian countries in the tournament but without reducing the number of European nations.

Europe now provides 13 of the 32 teams at the finals, compared with five from Africa and four or five, depending on the winners of a play-off against a South American team, for the most populous continent Asia.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter wrote last week that Africa and Asia deserved more representation because they had more member associations than Europe and South America.

Platini, regarded as most likely to succeed Blatter in the Fifa job, said adding eight more teams would require extending the tournament by only three days.

"It's good for everybody," he told Britain's Times newspaper.

"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.

"We can add two African, two Asiatic, two American, one Oceania and one from Europe."