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FIFA to study World Cup procedure

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ZURICH, Switzerland — Following last week's vote that gave the 2006 World Cup to Germany instead of South Africa, FIFA will discuss a new system to ensure the competition goes to different continents.

President Sepp Blatter stressed in a letter to the 24-member ruling executive committee "the importance that FIFA should not repeatedly grant the World Cup to the same continents but, on the contrary, should be entrusting its flagship competition to different confederations."

The executive committee will hold an "open discussion" when it meets Aug. 3, FIFA said.

Possibilities listed by Blatter included rotating the tournament from continent to continent; limiting the number of candidates per continent; or simultaneously designating the organizers of two consecutive World Cups.

The African Football Confederation asked FIFA to establish a rotation system following the 12-11 vote that gave the cup to Germany. It will be Europe's 10th World Cup, while Africa has yet to play host to the tournament.

Charles Dempsey of New Zealand, the Oceania Football Confederation president, abstained from voting in the final round of the ballot, reportedly defying his organization's mandate to support South Africa after England was knocked out.

If Dempsey had voted, the ballot would have been tied 12-12 and Blatter, who supported South Africa, would have broken the tie.

Dempsey has blamed "unsustainable pressure" from bidders and threats from "influential European interests" for his decision to abstain.

Last Friday, Lennart Johansson, president of the European governing body, UEFA, said he would favor an African host for the 2010 World Cup if a rotation system were introduced for future competitions.