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World Cup Loses Insurance Carrier

October 12, 2001

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) _ The insurance carrier for the World Cup withdrew its coverage because of the Sept. 11 attacks in a sudden move that angered soccer’s ruling body.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Friday insisted the World Cup ``will definitely go ahead″ despite the decision by the French company AXA.

``I have always said that a World Cup in the Far East would be extremely expensive, now it will be even more so,″ he said from Prague, Czech Republic, where he is attending a conference of European soccer’s governing organization.

The withdrawal by AXA comes days after the United States began military action in Afghanistan and terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden threatened further reprisals.

FIFA has one month to renegotiate the $875 million deal, Blatter said on UEFA’s Web site.

He said AXA had insured the World Cup for various risks, including terrorism, but told FIFA it was no longer prepared to carry the risk following last month’s attacks against the United States.

``I would have expected a company such as AXA to have given us some warning about this but there was absolutely none,″ Blatter said. ``It really boils down to a question of money and they clearly want a bigger premium.″

FIFA has so far paid $10.3 million in insurance premiums of a total fee of $17 million. FIFA officials said they are examining their legal options.

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