FIFA set to discuss 6+5 plan

ZURICH - FIFA's Executive Committee meets on Thursday and Friday with South Africa's readiness for the 2010 World Cup and the legality of the 6+5 plan among the main items on the agenda.

The first meeting of the year, to be chaired by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, allows world soccer's governing body to give an update on a raft of issues in the game.

South Africa's preparations for the World Cup have been far from smooth and worries about ticket sales will almost certainly be discussed.

Organisers for June's Confederations Cup, the test event for 2010, said on Tuesday they were planning to sell in bulk and hold a big internal marketing drive to lift flagging ticket sales.

An agenda for the meeting sent to Reuters also includes Blatter's controversial 6+5 proposal, whereby clubs would have to field six homegrown players.

An update on a legal study conducted by the Institute for European Affairs (INEA) on the idea's compatibility with European Union law will be heard. EU chiefs say the plan breaches the bloc's strict rules on free movement of workers.

The desirability of co-hosts for World Cups is not due to be discussed but has been a hot topic in the media.

Joint bid proposals from Belgium and the Netherlands and Spain and Portugal for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were received by Monday's deadline despite Blatter making it clear he favours single bidders.

"When we gave the 2002 World Cup to South Korea and Japan there were sporting and political reasons to share it," Blatter told reporters in Manchester recently.

"What we found then was that that was not one World Cup in two countries but two World Cups in two countries, two organising committees and twice the expense."

Other issues on the agenda include Olympic soccer tournaments, the 2008 FIFA financial report and measures to protect minors in football.

A news conference will be held at the end of the Zurich meeting on Friday.