Executive Committee’s first meeting of 2007
Green light for special projects
Convening for the first time in 2007 for a two-day meeting in Zurich on 22 and 23 March under the chairmanship of President Joseph S. Blatter, the FIFA Executive Committee decided that special projects along the lines of the ?Win in Africa with Africa’ programme would also be extended to other regions and continents.
As part of the Football for Better World initiative being supervised by the Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility, the executive approved the principal that projects similar to the existing ?Win in Africa with Africa’ programme be conceived for other continents and regions (Oceania, India and the Caribbean). Concrete proposals would be presented at the executive Committee’s meeting at the end of May.
Created by the 2005 FIFA Congress in Marrakech, the Task Force “For the Good of the Game” presented its final report (focusing specifically on the areas of finance, politics and competitions) to the FIFA Congress on 31 May 2007. The Task Force was then merged with the Strategic Committee that will serve as an international football forum will representatives from all branches of the game, including clubs and players.
The executive also discussed various proposed amendments to the FIFA Statutes Congress at the end of May. One of these amendments was intended to strengthen article 62, paragraph 3, requiring association to insert a clause in their statutes stipulating that their clubs and members may not take a dispute to ordinary courts of law but must instead submit it to the relevant bodies of the association, the appropriate confederation of FIFA. This reinforcement of the FIFA Statutes was founded on the recent decision of the Swiss Federal Court – Switzerland’s supreme legislative body – to uphold and confirm FIFA’s right to impose disciplinary sanctions by means of points deductions or the relegation of a club to a lower league.
The positive financial figures for the FIFA World Cup TM year of 2006 and the entire 2003-2006 period were warmly welcomed. FIFA’s balance sheet, income statement and its budget for 2008 were consequently approved by the Congress.
The committee was also satisfied with the progress of preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup TM in South Africa and reiterated its confidence in the local organizers of the event. In all, a record 204 associations enrolled for the qualifying competition. The preliminary draw is due to take place in Durban on 23 November 2007.
The FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 in South Africa (venues: Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg (Ellis Park), Pretoria, Rustenberg) was prolonged by one day so that it would therefore be contested from 14 to 28 June, with the semi-finals to be played on separate days.
Although the former for the six-match final tournament of this year’s Club World Cup in Japan will be no different from 2006, the executive agreed to introduce a qualifying play-off between the Oceania champions and the league champions of the host nation, with the victors then lining up alongside the champions of the five other confederations.
The schedule for the bidding procedure for the 2014 FIFA World Cup TM in South America was approved and the Executive Committee will therefore reach its decision on this matter in November 2007.
The executive agreed to allocate the TV rights in Germany for the 2014 FIFA World Cup TM to ARD/ZDF, the pair of public broadcasters who already hold these rights for the 2010 tournament. Furthermore, FIFA’s partnership with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) was extended to include the 2014 FIFA World Cup TM.
With regard to problems facing member associations and the preservation of their autonomy, the Executive Committee’s ratified the Emergency Committee’s decision to lift the suspension on the Kenya Football Federation on a number of defined conditions. Furthermore, the Executive Committee took note of the fact that a model of direct political intervention exists in Spain which, in the opinion of FIFA, could lead to sanctions.
Further decisions that were reached included:
• The affiliation of Montenegro as FIFA”s 208th member would be presented to the Congress for decision.
• This year’s FIFA Anti-Discrimination Day would take place on 14-15 July 2007 to coincide with the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. The 2007 FIFA Fair Play Day would be held in conjunction with the United Nations’ International Day of Peace on 21 September, shortly before the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in China.
• Originally scheduled for 28 August to 14 September, the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2008 in Chile was, by way of special exception, moved to 30 December 2008 to 12 January 2009 in order to allow for the best possible promotion of women’s football.
• The 2008 FIFA Congress would be staged in Sydney, Australia, from 28 to 30 May.
• Canadian club Toronto FC and Bermuda Hogges were given permission to participate in Major League Soccer and United Soccer League respectively.
• The FIFA administration would continue to deal with the situation regarding Simpaul Travel.
Taking over the role of FIFA vice-president for the first time at the meeting was Michel Platini (France), in his capacity as UEFA President. It was also a special occasion for Marios Lefkaritis (Cypris), who was attending his first ever Executive Committee meeting by assuming the seat previously held by Platini.