The Asian Football Confederation will continue to work toward gaining a fifth berth for the 2006 World Cup, AFC general secretary Peter Velappan said on Thursday, in reaction to remarks by FIFA president Sepp Blatter the day before.

“Now we have an extra seat made available from the champion no longer being an automatic qualifier,” Velappan said. “We expect the seat to be given to Asia.”

Blatter earlier commented that FIFA had no intention of giving Asia a fifth spot without being convinced of the standard of its performance in the coming World Cup on the field of play and also on the sport’s political scene.

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