Despite the surprising turnarounds during this summer’s World Cup, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valka has confirmed that there will be no change to the number of teams who get to qualify from each continent for the competition in Brazil in 2014.

As a reminder, currently 13 teams from Europe get through, 5 from Asia/Oceania, 5 from Africa, and 7 from North/South America. The European teams have greatly struggled at this tournament, though, with less than half progressing to the knockout stages, while in the past they have dominated their groups. As this is the first World Cup that takes place in Africa, expectations were high on the African teams as well, but only Ghana managed to survive the group stages.

I think that despite these outcomes, the decision from FIFA is the right one. I am in favor of preserving the quotas as much as possible, as it gives a good balance of quality and diversity at the World Cup. Maybe the European continent can afford to lose one or two places in the future if the sport gets bigger in Asia, but Africa’s teams definitely should not be reduced. In order for football to continue to grow and help out the economy there, they need all the chances they can get. Plus, it’s not like they played that badly in the groups, but they just couldn’t face up to tougher opposition.

Would be interesting to see if it’s possible for South America to improve on their showing so far in Africa when 2014 comes along, but that will take something special.


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