Africa will get a third berth in the 1994 World Cup, at the expense of Europe, the head of soccer’s ruling body said today.
Joao Havelange, president of FIFA, credited Cameroon’s success this summer for the change.
“Africa will automatically get one more place,” Havelange said in an interview published in La Gazzetta Dello Sport. “It deserves it. That place will be taken away from Europe.”
African nations had been calling for such a move well before the tournament and complained that Europe was over-represented at the World Cup.
The North and Central American region and Asia will also get a chance to increase participation to three teams from two, but only through a special qualifying series with South American and European nations, he said.
This could further weaken the presence of the traditional soccer bastions of Europe and South America, which have 18 of the 24 slots in this year’s World Cup.
After Roger Milla got two goals to put Cameroon in the World Cup quarterfinals, he said he wanted Africa to profit from his achievement.
“It proves the progress of African soccer, and we have to work to get three places in the next World Cup,” Milla said.
FIFA has to make a final decision on the issue at a meeting in December.