French Premier Jacques Chirac said that Joao Havalange, president of FIFA, soccer's world governing body, has agreed to allow France to host the 1998 World Cup.
Chirac's announcement, before 5,000 people at a rally in Dijon, France, for his campaign in the April 24 presidential election, was unexpected, particularly since the choice for the 1994 host will not be announced until June 30.
The World Cup is conducted every four years. The 1990 World Cup will be in Italy. The United States, Brazil and Morocco are bidding for the 1994 competition.