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JAPAN, S. KOREA WON'T BE CO-HOSTING WORLD CUP

World soccer's governing body today ruled out the idea of Japan and South Korea co-hosting the 2002 World Cup, saying the logistical problems were too great.

"The bottom line is . . . that we will go ahead according to our statutes," said FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren.FIFA rules do not permit dual bids for the World Cup and the likely wrangling over which stadiums in which countries would be used for which events made it unfeasible.

The rejection followed a South Korean statement earlier in the day that it would be willing to share the host role.

Herren said that both Japan and South Korea had individually committed themselves to hosting the World Cup and had signed the bidding contracts.

"If a joint operation was to be considered it would mean restarting the whole bidding process from scratch again," he said.

Only the FIFA executive board could make the decision to change the statutes. Its next meeting is May 31, the day before the site is announced, he added.

Japan and South Korea are the only two countries bidding for the event.