The FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter, said he felt surprised and disappointed by the French FA's decision not to participate in the FIFA Confederations Cup, Mexico 1999. "It is regrettable that the French FA has made a decision like this with only 100 days to go before the kick-off to this event. For the world champions to withdraw from an official FIFA competition in which the French team had undertaken to take part as the representative of the European confederation, UEFA, is hard for me to understand."

"As this decision appears to be irrevocable" said Mr Blatter, "UEFA will be responsible for designating their representative for the second FIFA Confederations Cup." The FIFA President will talk about the issue with UEFA President, Mr Lennart Johansson, when they meet on Saturday in Glasgow for the 125th anniversary of the Scottish FA.

The FIFA Confederations Cup is due to be staged from 8 to 20 January 1999 in Mexico City and Guadalajara. The other teams lining up are Brazil, Bolivia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, United States and the host country, Mexico.