The Executive Director, African Network For Peace And Good Governance (ANPG, Mr. Bede Aneke has demanded more slots for African countries in the next World Cup.
Africa presently has 5 slots, with four of them already crashed out. Only Morocco is left in the ongoing tournament.
In an open letter to the FIFA President, Aneke faulted the current 5 slots for African countries, describing it as a discrimination against Africa
“I write to state that the present five slots that FIFA has continued to allocate to Africa (CAF) in the recent editions of the World Cup is unsatisfactory and inequitable.
“FIFA has, as of the recent record, two hundred and eight member associations (countries) from six different Confederations, namely UEFA, CAF, AFC, CONCAF, CONMEBOL and OFC.
“Africa has the largest number with 54 member associations, followed by Europe (UEFA) that has 52 member associations.
“Asia (AFC) has 46 member associations; North, Central America and Caribbean (CONCAF) has 35 member associations; South America (CONMEBOL) has just 10 member associations while Oceania (OFC) has 11 member associations,” he said.
Aneke said it was surprising that Africa has continued to be under-represented in FIFA World Cup in terms of unbefitting slots to participate in the four year world tournament.
“Under the present arrangement, 32 teams participate in the World Cup and Europe has the highest number of representatives with 13 teams.
“Then Africa (CAF) with the highest number of member associations in FIFA has just 5 slots while AFC (Asia), CONCAF and CONMEBOL with far less number of member associations enjoy 5 and 4 slots.
“Many in Africa consider the slots given to Africa as unfair and part of the seemingly entrenched marginalisation of the football loving continent.
“This is why I, like many other round leather game lovers in Africa, demand that the African continent be given at least four more slots in the four year mundial to make for a total of 9 slots for the continent, beginning from the next edition of the tournament in 2026.
“It is heart-warming to note that recently the ‘Bureau’ of the FIFA Council, comprising you- the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, and the Presidents of six confederations that make up FIFA, met in Zurich and agreed on the expansion of the team participation in the World Cup from 32 to 48.
“Under the proposed expansion, UEFA gets three more slots, thereby taking Europe’s total slot to 16.
“CAF (Africa) will be given four more slots, making it up to 9 slots for the continent.
“Meanwhile, AFC gets a total of 8 slots; CONCAF and CONMEBOL will enjoy 6 slots each.
“Sir, I encourage you to use your good office to ensure that the 9 slots proposed for Africa is realised and that Africa is not cheated when the Bureau presents its expansionist report to the ‘FIFA Council’ for ratification in May 2023.
“This is necessary to give Africa, which parades an array of global stars, a sense of belonging and justice in the decisions and activities of the World’s football governing body.
“Anything short of this will be unacceptable as it portrays a clear unfair treatment and discrimination against Africa.
“If more and corresponding slots are given to Africa, it will make the World Cup more competitive and the real World Cup it ought to be as the present arrangement favours Europe to win the tournament,” he further stated.
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