Altitude Decision Upheld
At its meeting in Zurich on 14 March under the chairmanship of President Joseph S. Blatter, the FIFA Executive Committee upheld the decision taken in Tokyo in December 2007 regarding football at high altitude. It also applauded the improvement in relations with the major clubs following meetings earlier in 2008 and welcomed FIFA’s positive financial results for 2007.
At the recommendation of the FIFA Associations Committee, it was decided to suspend the Football Association of Albania due to heavy political interference, while the situation regarding the Spanish football association (RFEF) will be closely monitored following a ministerial decree that aims to regulate the election of the association’s leadership, effectively shortening the mandate of the current leadership by eight months. The executive supported
the RFEF in its decision to adhere to its own statutes and regulations as well as those of FIFA. The situation in Turkey will continue to be supervised, as will the cases of Kuwait and Dominica, while in the case of Madagascar, it was decided that the association would be suspended automatically if the government decree to dissolve the association was not cancelled within three days. It was noted that the Ethiopian government would also be asked to allow the Ethiopian Football Federation to access its headquarters again. Moreover, the FIFA administration was requested to monitor very closely developments with respect to the diplomatic situation in Kosovo.
Following the decision taken by the Executive Committee in Tokyo on 15 December regarding football at high altitude, CONMEBOL submitted a request for reconsideration, which was not accepted. In line with the decision, an upper altitude limit will be imposed for matches in FIFA competitions in which the players and match officials are not given time to acclimatise in advance. As per the circular letter sent to all associations in January, the following criteria were upheld:
• above 2,500 m: acclimatisation period of three days strongly recommended;
• above 2,750 m: mandatory acclimatisation period of one week;
• above 3,000 m: games generally not permitted except with a minimum acclimatisation period of two weeks. In accordance with the same decision, it was again recommended that the same limit be introduced for international competitions organised by other football bodies.
Furthermore, the Executive Committee applauded the improved relations between the governing football bodies, FIFA and UEFA, and the major clubs. Note was also taken of the creation of the European Club Association and the dissolution of the G-14. On the basis of these agreements and the letters of intent, the interests of the entire football family have effectively been safeguarded In terms of litigation, Atletico Madrid have withdrawn their claim while the case involving Olympique Lyonnais and the G-14 has been suspended. Regarding Charleroi, multilateral discussions are still ongoing.
Despite some unforeseen expenses, FIFA started the 2007-2010 World Cup cycle with favourable financial results. The executive noted with great satisfaction the accounts for 2007, which reveal that world football’s governing body recorded income of USD 882 million and expenses of USD 833 million, leading to an overall surplus of USD 49 million and equity amounting to USD 643 million The full report is available on www. FIFA.com.
Looking ahead to the 58th FIFA Congress in Sydney (Australia) on 29 and 30 May 2008, the FIFA Executive Committee took note of the proposed amendments to the Statutes and the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes. These will include, among others, the principle of promotion and relegation and the provisions regarding eligibility to play for association teams. Another item for decision will be the signature of WADA’s World Anti-Doping Code. In this respect, the President informed the committee about a meeting with WADA President John Fahey on 29 February and the fact that the revised code provided for more flexibility for sanctions. The 2009 FIFA Congress will be held in the Bahamas following a bid process involving nine interested associations.
The FIFA President also raised the topic of the “6+5″ rule, which he considers essential to preserve the uncertainty of results and competitions and emphasised that it would be implemented by convincing the various stakeholders through dialogue and by presenting objective reasons in favour of such a rule. The Executive Committee supported the President in this respect.
The number of finalist teams at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Football Cup was maintained at 16. At the same time and as with the FIFA World Cup™, it was considered beneficial for a test event to be held, and consequently the executive agreed that the U-20 women’s event was the most suitable. For this reason, the 2010 edition of this competition will also take place in Germany.