Webb urges FIFA to give CONCACAF more influence
ZURICH (AP) -The CONCACAF region that includes the United States wants a bigger say in the decision-making at the heart of FIFA.
Jeffrey Webb, president of football's ruling body for North and Central America and the Caribbean, told The Associated Press on Tuesday he will urge his FIFA executive committee colleagues this week to look at how their influence is shared and how the panel's seats are allocated among the six continental confederations.
CONCACAF currently has three representatives in the 25-member committee. Webb wants that increased to four.
Webb believes that FIFA has a chance to make a modernizing change in its current reform program, and should also reward Asia and Africa with a bigger say by giving them one extra committee member each. They currently have four apiece.
"Right now, it's not on the table, there's no discussion and that is one of the disappointments from my standpoint,'' Webb said in an interview at FIFA headquarters.
With confidence in CONCACAF growing after two years of turmoil, he has targeted hosting the 2026 World Cup in either Mexico or the United States.
Webb also hopes the region will send four teams to next year's 32-nation tournament in Brazil. CONCACAF has three guaranteed places, and can earn a fourth in a November playoff against the team advancing from Oceania's qualifiers.
First, the FIFA board chaired by President Sepp Blatter begins a two-day session Wednesday, and is due to approve a slate of reforms which FIFA's 209 FIFA member nations will vote on in Mauritius in May 31.
"I am hoping this week will be the start of a discussion that FIFA starts to look at proportional representation throughout the confederations,'' Webb said. "There is a potential for us to miss an opportunity and I don't think we should.''
The Cayman Islands banker will lead a three-man delegation representing his 35 FIFA member nations, along with Chuck Blazer of the United States and Rafael Salguero of Guatemala.
Africa (54 nations) and Asia (46) combined are individually outnumbered by eight committee members from UEFA representing 53 member countries. Europe has traditionally held most power since football's world governing body was formed by a handful of countries in Paris in 1904.
If there was to be a re-shuffle of executive committee members, it could well cost UEFA some influence.
Webb indicated that not all traditions have their place in the modern game.
"What was created (109) years ago does not necessarily reflect the realities, and I don't think is relevant to today's world,'' Webb said.
As for FIFA's reform program, UEFA has published its own list of suggestions, while CONCACAF unanimously backed the slate proposed by a FIFA-appointed task force.
"I'm really happy and proud that our confederation embraced (the task force's) work and respected their work,'' Webb said. "We are prepared to adopt the recommendations they propose, but I think it needs to go deeper.''
Webb said he has yet to discuss his proposal with UEFA President Michel Platini, who is a probable candidate to lead FIFA in 2015.
However, the CONCACAF leader expressed support for Blatter's commitment to modernize FIFA.
"I am sure that President Blatter is very much committed to (reform),'' Webb said. "He wants a FIFA that is transparent, he wants a FIFA that is built on solid foundations.''
For CONCACAF, which had no quarterfinalists at the 2010 World Cup, better performances can boost its political ambitions.
Webb said all six teams remaining in World Cup qualifying - Mexico and the United States, plus Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and Panama - are capable of advancing to Brazil.
"You see the level of competition that is taking place now. This speaks to the development in national associations,'' he said.
Still, a longer term goal has been set.
"We want to host the 2026 World Cup,'' Webb said. "And we want to win the World Cup.''
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