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Blatter wants to get rid of qualifying playoff matches

FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses the media after a meeting of the executive committee in Zurich October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses the media after a meeting of the executive committee in Zurich October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

BERNE (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants to get rid of World Cup qualifying playoff ties in future, saying it is a hard way for teams to miss out on the finals.

Twenty teams, plus hosts Brazil, have qualified for next year's tournament via round-robin groups but the remaining 11 places will be decided this month, all in two-legged playoffs.

Five matches will be played in Africa, between runners-up from the 10 second-round groups, four in Europe, involving the best eight runners-up from nine groups, plus two intercontinental repechage ties. These feature Jordan against Uruguay and Mexico v New Zealand.

"It will be drama because you have to eliminate teams now in two matches," Blatter said in a video interview on FIFA's website.

"I think this is good for television, this is good for the spectacle of football but I think we should try to find a solution where at the end of the qualification, you are in or out, and not this playoff.

"This playoff.... it gives more intensive action, but for those teams (who are knocked out) it is a hard way to go."

Blatter also said that FIFA was looking carefully at the decision to allow Egypt to play their home tie against Ghana in Cairo because of the security situation. Ghana lead 6-1 from the first leg.

"We should be very careful because they (Ghana) fear something should (might) happen," said Blatter.

"We are looking at this matter, there have been matches played in Egypt, international club matches, but we must be careful."

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Ed Osmond, Reuters Messaging: brian.homewood.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net. To sign up for our Global Sports Forum chatroom, click on https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/global_sports_forum)

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