uefa chief hopeful

Platini wants 2018 World Cup finals in Europe

February 5, 2009

UEFA president Michel Platini will try to persuade FIFA next month to limit the 2018 World Cup candidates to European bids.

Platini believes the tournament should return to Europe every third time, and will attempt to get FIFA's executive committee to agree to 2018 being a straight fight between the four European bidders, including England.

Russia plus joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium are the other three submissions from European nations.

Should FIFA not agree, then Platini revealed he may try to hold some sort of preliminary contest within Europe so that the candidates do not split the vote among the 24 members of FIFA's executive committee who will decide on the hosts in December next year.

Platini: "If FIFA decides that it is in Europe it is not a problem, because then everyone will vote for a European bid but we have to know the rules of FIFA first.

"My job is to convince FIFA that 2018 should be in Europe because we have to come back to Europe every third time.

"If we get that then the four will fight for it. If there is no European decision perhaps we can find another decision or tactic with the UEFA executive committee.''

The England 2018 bid leaders had a 45-minute meeting with FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Wednesday, described as "excellent'' by Football Association chairman Lord Triesman.

Platini, who dined with Triesman on Wednesday night, was speaking in London ahead of a tribute dinner to England head coach Fabio Capello being held by the League Managers' Association.

The legendary French forward believes that with Capello at the helm, England should be viewed as realistic challengers for the 2010 World Cup.

Platini added: "When Fabio goes anywhere, it is not to lose.

"He has had success everywhere he has been and he has a capacity to do many things and to win.

"There are good English players and he understands the situation and knows the players, and knows what he has to do. So far he has been a great success.

"With the players there are available to England it's not illogical that they could do something at the World Cup.''