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Blatter moots changes to way World Cup host is chosen

The Swiss president of football's world governing body, Fifa, has proposed changing the process by which the World Cup host country is selected. Sepp Blatter said a system of "pre-elimination", as used for Olympic bids, may be worth considering.

In the latest edition of Fifa's newsletter, Blatter said the system could be useful "if the list of candidates is long and contains more than one interested country from the same continent".

Blatter also suggested that the idea of rotating the World Cup finals among the continents should be seriously considered.

Fifa's ruling executive committee will announce its choice for the 2006 finals on July 6 at its headquarters in Zurich. Five countries from three continents - Brazil, England, Germany, Morocco and South Africa - have applied.

Blatter said the time was ripe to consider changes: "The immediate future, when the 2006 decision is finally behind us, may be a propitious moment to make just such a review," he wrote.

He also defended Fifa's guidelines for assessing candidates' technical, financial, political and other capabilities to host the finals. He said the guidelines, which include an instruction to members to report any excessive hospitality, "have generally proved their worth".

"But they may need to be tightened for future editions, as the stakes appear likely to get higher," Blatter said.

swissinfo with agencies

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