CONMEBOL 'knocked on a lot of doors' to keep half-spot - president

Juan Angel Napout said CONMEBOL had to knock on a lot of doors to defend their 'half-spot' for qualification to the World Cup.

CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout claimed the federation had to work hard to keep their 4.5 qualifying spots for the World Cup.

The South American federation held onto their allocation of spots for football's showpiece, after the FIFA Congress decided in May that the spots-per-federation allotment would remain the same from the Brazil World Cup through to Qatar.

Napout revealed it was not simply a matter of FIFA signing off on the same numbers, stating CONMEBOL desperately defended the 'extra' half-spot they have held since the 2002 World Cup in South Korea/Japan.

"[They] have great value," the 57-year-old told, referring to the half-spots they held onto for the Russia and Qatar World Cups.

"They are football conquests in recognition of South America, which has given the sport a lot of stability, in comparison to other areas.  

"Looking at the statistics for the last two World Cups, South Africa's 2010 and Brazil's 2014 editions, they provide clues into why this new format is a great idea.

"Nevertheless, many describe as very auspicious the possibility that South America can actually have five teams competing in the World Cup. 

"We knocked on a lot of doors for this to happen and we thank those [who] heard us and understood. 

"The petition was emerged in an absolute desire to fairly compete on the field."

Napout also claimed CONMEBOL held "altruistic" values, months after predecessor Eugenio Figueredo was one of the seven FIFA officials arrested. 

"All organisations pursue the collective welfare of football," he added. 

"CONMEBOL has been built on the basis of inspiration of hundreds of leaders convinced in a highly altruistic mission. 

"Thousands of them, in all of our countries work every day to help their club with impeccable fidelity.  

"CONMEBOL, as an institution, maintains its unchanging principles. 

"We strive every day to seek the most appropriate solution for the general interest. We will move forward with the facts."