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Saturday, August 7, 1999 Published at 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK

Sport: Football

Bates wants World Cup boycott

Ken Bates is outraged at an early World Cup start

Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates, has urged England to boycott the 2002 World Cup, in protest of plans to hold the competition a month earlier than usual.

World football's governing body Fifa want the competition, held jointly in Japan and South Korea, to be brought forward to May 23 to avoid the rainy season.

[ image: Ken Bates:
Ken Bates: "What idiot thought of that?"
In a Sun newspaper article, Bates, an FA councillor, said:

"What a shambles. Didn't Fifa know four years ago when they made their choice that it rains like hell at that time of year.

"And what a good idea to start the World Cup earlier in May, just when we are still playing. What idiot thought of that?."

Fifa upset

Bates' comments come at a time when England is bidding for the 2006 World Cup.

His reaction is likely to upset Fifa and may have reduced England's chances of staging the tournament.

"What England and European countries should do is withdraw and see how Fifa would like it," he said.

"There would be no World Cup without us."

England are competing against favourites South Africa, Germany, Brazil and Morocco for the 2006 tournament.

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