Premiere In Sydney
The 58th FIFA place in the Australian metropolis on 29 and 30 May 2008 -the first time that FIFA’s supreme legislative body has met in Oceania.
For two days, the presidents, general secretaries and treasurers of over 200 football associations will discuss and vote on various issues at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney. The items on the agenda include amendments to the FIFA Statutes and Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes relating, among other things, to the principle of promotion and relegation and provisions regarding eligibility to play for association teams.
Another important issue is the signing of the World Anti-Doping Code. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President John Fahey signed a letter of intent at the Home of FIFA on 29 February 2008 to strengthen cooperation between the two organisations in the fight against doping. The agreement was reached following a meeting in which the revised version of the World Anti-Doping Code and the UNESCO Convention were discussed and during which FIFA expressed its satisfaction at the inclusion of more flexibility for sanctions in the revised code.
According to the terms of the letter of intent, FIFA has declared its unconditional support for WADA in the fight against doping and agreed to do its utmost to ensure that the relevant bodies within FIFA ratify the World Anti-Doping Code Version 3.0, whereas WADA has declared its respect for the specificity of team sports as compared to individual sports, with ongoing discussions regarding whereabouts information and testing pools for teams.
The letter of intent, which came into force immediately upon signature, will be valid until FIFA has formally ratified the Code Version 3.0 at the Congress in Sydney.
“6 + 5″ RULE
The 58th FIFA Congress will also -deliberate and decide on further sports political issues, including football at high altitude and the protection of national teams through the “6 + 5″ rule. The FIFA Football Committee, which met on 4 February 2008, considers the “6 + 5″ rule in principle as necessary and also advisable from a moral point of view, but expressed certain doubts as to its effectiveness. The FIFA President pleaded strongly in favour or the rule, which basically provides that a club team must start a match with at least six players who would be eligible for the national team of the country in which the club is domiciled. “Over the years and decades, by signing more and more foreign players, clubs have gradually lost
their identity, first locally and regionally, and even nationally’,” he said. “Young players lose their motivation in the same way as their perspectives dwindle in terms of one day getting a chance to play in their favourite club’s first team. Strong club competitions with huge prize money for the participating clubs have brought about a two-tier society in many countries as the gulf between the haves and have-nots has widened. Only two or three teams -play for the league title and all others are fighting against relegation.”
Against this background, Blatter plans to take action by submitting the “6 + 5″ rule to the Congress in Sydney. Mindful of the political environment, the FIFA President will not tackle supranational organisations such as the EU but rather convince them of FIFA’s approach, referring expressly to the mention of the specificity of sport in the new European Reform Treaty.