28 Nov 2013

Discussions underway to merge Asian and Oceania World Cup qualifying

12:59 pm on 28 November 2013

The Asian and Oceania football confederations have opened discussions about combining World Cup slots to improve their qualification chances at future tournaments.

Both regions suffered heavy defeats in the intercontinental playoffs for the 2014 World Cup last week with the ALl Whites thrashed 9-3 over two legs by Mexico, while the AFC's Jordan were beaten 5-0 on aggregate by Uruguay.

Asia currently has four automatic qualifying berths for the World Cup, with the fifth-placed team going into an intercontinental playoff, while Oceania has no automatic spot and the champions must also go through a playoff.

The AFC President Sheikh Salman has confirmed discussions are underway but says they are only at an early stage and possible move would require approval from world governing body FIFA.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter suggested earlier this month he wanted the playoff system scrapped which appears to support the AFC-OFC move and also wants more World Cup places for Asia and Africa.