Brazil Fights Europe for World Cup
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Brazil, the only South American country bidding for the 2006 World Cup, appealed to soccer’s ruling body Tuesday to not give the showcase event to Europe.
``Europe has already hosted nine cup competitions,″ said Oswaldo Aruda, the executive director for Brazil’s bid. ``We’re quite sure that a World Cup in Brazil would be fantastic.″
The only World Cup Brazil has held was in 1950. Others bidding for 2006 are England, South Africa, Germany and Morocco. The winner will be announced in July by FIFA, the governing organization.
Representatives from the five countries are in Malaysia this week to present bids to the Asian Football Confederation, the region’s top soccer association.
South Africa has been a favorite for 2006 since FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he thought it was Africa’s turn to stage the World Cup for the first time.
The World Cup, first held in 1930, traditionally alternates between Europe and the Americas.
Europe has held the competition nine of 16 times. France staged the last World Cup in 1998. The next one in 2002 is the first in Asia, shared by Japan and South Korea.
On Tuesday, England’s representatives rejected the idea that their country, the leading European contender, should let the World Cup go to another continent.
``We have probably the best stadium in the whole world,″ said Bobby Charlton, president of England’s bid committee, referring to Wembley Stadium.
A project to raze and rebuild the famous stadium is the centerpiece of England’s bid for the 2006 World Cup.
``We have a football history no one can deny,″ said Charlton, a former England World Cup hero. ``We want football to come home to England.″