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BBC sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar
"AXA want to urgently renegotiate the terms of their cover"
 real 14k

Fifa president Sepp Blatter
"Now we have to find a solution"
 real 14k

Saturday, 13 October, 2001, 00:04 GMT 01:04 UK
Insurers scrap World Cup deal
Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Blatter expected more warning from AXA
Insurance firm AXA has abandoned its agreement to cover football's governing body for the 2002 World Cup finals following the terror attacks on America.

The French company, which is the main insurer of the tournament in Korea and Japan, has given notice to Fifa that it wants to renegotiate the 600m package.

But Fifa officials insist the World Cup finals are not under threat and will definitely go ahead.

Sepp Blatter, president of football's governing body Fifa, said: "We have been given one month to renegotiate the deal."

Fifa says it has already paid 7.2m of the 12m total insurance premiums due so far.

AXA, which sponsors the FA Cup, has insured the World Cup for various risks including "terrorism".

But it no longer appears prepared to carry the risk following the terror attacks on the United States and the subsequent military action in Afghanistan.

There is no question that this will stop the World Cup
Fifa president Sepp Blatter

The company told Fifa the firm's contract to insure the World Cup would become invalid on 11 November unless the deal was renegotiated.

AXA spokesman Ingo Koch said: "The reason (for cancelling the contract) is that the dangers for security are mugh higher since the attacks on 11 September."

But Blatter appeared disappointed by the timing of the move.

"I would have expected a company such as AXA to have given us some warning about this, but there was absolutely none," said Blatter.

"It really boils down to a question of money and they clearly want a bigger premium.

Expensive event

"The deal will have to be renegotiated because the World Cup cannot go ahead without insurance which covers, for example, bank guarantees, marketing rights and also acts of terrorism.

"There is no question that this will stop the World Cup which will definitely go ahead.

"I have always said that a World Cup in the Far East would be extremely expensive, now it will be even more so."

The finals are scheduled to take place from 31 May to 30 June.

A report in Friday's Financial Times said AXA had radically changed its strategy following the September 11 attacks.

The report said the company would lay off staff, reduce the use of outside consultants and only invest in vital new projects.

See also:

12 Oct 01 |  World Cup 2002
FA could enter TV row
10 Oct 01 |  World Cup 2002
World Cup draw 'goes ahead'
09 Oct 01 |  World Cup 2002
England face security fears
Other top World Cup 2002 stories:

Links to more World Cup 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


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