CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb made quite the statement at the ‘Leaders in Sport Summit’ on Wednesday when he told other top officials that the region should be awarded four qualification spots in the World Cup.
Webb attributed the need to increase the region’s current allocation of 3.5 to 4 due to the disproportionate nature of the current system at the top tier.
“I can’t argue that UEFA [Europe] deserves to have more spots than any other confederation, but if you look at the representation of teams at Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups, they are much more proportionate,” Webb said of FIFA’s current distribution of World Cup berths, according to Sports Illustrated. “We believe our confederation has earned a fourth spot.”
To earn a place in the 2014 World Cup, Mexico needed to play a two-legged series against Oceania’s New Zealand. El Tri won 9-3 on aggregate. Three CONCACAF teams – USA, Mexico and Costa Rica – went on to make the knockout stage in the World Cup. Boosting Webb’s claims further are the facts that CONCACAF has performed well in recent international tournaments with Mexico winning the 2011 U-17 World Cup and 2012 Olympic gold.
“As for where it comes from, I think half a spot should be done away with,” Webb added later.
Demanding an extra spot in the World Cup is a bold claim and one that nations qualifying through Europe will be sure to scoff at. This year the qualification of 13 UEFA nations out of 53 saw the likes of Serbia, Scotland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Ukraine and Slovakia all miss out on Brazil.