IOC scan Blatter plan

 

Sepp Blatter's proposal for a biennial World Cup is likely to be a contentious issue when the president of FIFA meets his International Olympic Committee counterpart, Juan Antonio Samaranch, in Zurich today.

If Blatter's plan was implemented the tournament would be staged in Olympic years, creating scheduling problems and competition for sponsorship and tv rights.

Blatter said the change would probably be introduced in 2008, but FIFA has said a smaller World Cup-type event may be held in 2004 to mark its centenary.

The IOC's director general Francois Carrard said yesterday: "Reasonable people would find a way so that major competitions would not enter into conflict over dates. We will wait to hear from Sepp Blatter. I'm sure he will not start a conflict."

The UEFA president Lennart Johansson has already dismissed Blatter's World Cup idea. "I find the idea of a World Cup in 2004 unacceptable," he said. "UEFA is going to organise the European Championship in 2004 and it is the year of its 50th jubilee.

"UEFA is always positive about projects that can be beneficial to everybody in football, but we do not see any advantages in a scheme that threatens to upset this balance."