Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) president, Jeffrey Webb, is demanding that the region be awarded four qualifying spots for the International Soccer Federation (FIFA) World Cup.
A total of three CONCACAF countries directly qualify, while the fourth-place team in the regional qualifiers will meet the Oceania winner in a home and away tie to determine which team will move on to the World Cup.
Europe is guaranteed 13 of the 32 spots.
“I can’t argue that Europe deserves to have more spots than any other confederation, but if you look at the representation at Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups, they are much more proportionate,” said Webb at last week’s Leaders in Soccer Conference in London. “We believe our federation has earned a fourth spot.”
Webb also expressed his displeasure with FIFA’s decision to abandon its continental rotation system for the men’s World Cup hosting rights.
Introduced in 2000, the rotation system ends in 2018.
“Unfortunately, when the rotation stopped, it affected CONCACAF more than anyone else,” he said. “We believe the 2026 World Cup should be our World Cup and there should not necessarily be a debate – only what country it should be in.”
Replacing the controversial Austin “Jack” Warner as CONCACAF’s president in May 2012, Webb has called for a tougher approach to racism and singled out Russia, which is the 2018 World Cup host country.
The latest episode of fans’ racism in Russia has led to CSKA Moscow being ordered to play its next three Union of European Soccer Associations (UEFA) competition matches in an empty stadium following several incidents in domestic games where players have been abused.
“We have been talking for a long time about zero tolerance and saying no to racism and now we see actions coming forth and that’s refreshing,” said Webb, who is from the Cayman Islands. “It’s a huge fight on our hands. There is a huge challenge ahead with Russia 2018 and it must start with education. It must come from the top down that diversity and integration is good. Then, we have nothing to fear.”
The CONCACAF president called on English soccer to embrace affirmative action similar to the Rooney rule in the National Football league, which obliges clubs to include an ethnic minority candidate on their shortlist for coaching positions.
There are only two Black managers among the 92 English clubs.
“In this day and time, in this era and in this century, should we really have to mandate opportunities for qualified individuals?” he asked. “Sadly, the answer is yes.”