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In a recent interview, UEFA president Michel Platini raised the issue of increasing the number of teams playing in the World Cup from 32 to 40 and so on this week’s main listening report we wonder if this idea is such a good one. This listening report is a shortened version of the regular weekly podcast. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above.
In the first ever World Cup I watched back in 1974 only 16 nations took part: 9 from Europe, 4 from South America and one each from CONCACAF, Africa and Oceania/Asia. At the last World Cup in South Africa in 2010 there were 32 participating nations with 13 teams from Europe, 5 from South America, 6 from Africa, 4 from Asia, 3 from CONCACAF and one from Oceania. Definitely much more representative of the global game but some complain that the competition is too large with too many meaningless games. The problem now is that none of the continental federations are going to give up their World Cup spots and with this in mind, UEFA president Michel Platini has suggested that the tournament could include 40 countries rather than 32 so that no region would lose any of its current number of places.
This raises questions about what kind of tournament the World Cup wants to be. Of course, regions need to be fairly represented – we cannot return to the Euro-centric ways of the 1970s for instance but I am not sure that simply increasing the numbers of participating countries is the answer as we will then have even more matches which will probably dilute the quality of the tournament. It is after all a competition to find the best team in the world.
Football vocabulary and phrases used in this week’s listening report
CONCACAF: The North and Central American qualifying region.
the global game: Football (The beautiful game)
meaningless: Without any meaning; games with nothing to play for
with this in mind : Taking this into account
the Euro-centric ways of the 1970s: In the 1970s European football dominated the World Cup and held lots of power within the game.
dilute the quality: To weaken the quality; take away its strength
FIFA World Cup site
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