The FIFA Executive Committee held its final meeting of 2007 in Tokyo on Saturday 15 December. A wide range of topics were discussed and a number of important decisions reached. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter concluded proceedings by holding a well attended press conference and summarising the Executive Committee meeting. FIFA.com brings you the main points.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter
"Referees on all levels are the key to the success of football. Over the next three years, there are two important points which we will be addressing: we want to prepare referees in the best possible way for the FIFA World Cup and also establish the RAP (Refereeing Assistance Programme) with close collaboration from the confederations and national associations. It is very important to provide support to referees, and this support needs to start at grass roots level. Education, discipline and respect are the main points here."
On the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2007
"The FIFA Executive Committee is highly satisfied with the organisation of this competition. All involved have done a great job."
On playing at altitude
"We listened to a report given by Dr Michel D'Hooghe, chairman of the FIFA Sports Medical Committee. At the end of October, a symposium on football in extreme conditions was held, with the most important topic being games played at high altitude. We have made a clear decision, stating that no international football matches are to be played at more than 2,750 metres above sea-level without the appropriate acclimatisation."
On legal sporting matters
"Promotion and relegation on sporting grounds are a must. In Spain at the beginning of this season we had the case of a club which changed its name and where it played, and then won promotion. This will no longer be possible in the future. The rules governing such matters will be changed accordingly. The Executive Committee today ratified an article to this end which will be presented at the 2008 congress in Sydney."
On the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA
"FIFA carries out the highest number of drugs tests throughout the world. There is no perfect solution to the doping problem, but we are working hard. We are pleased that the new WADA code states that cases will be dealt with individually, meaning that bans will be worked out on a case-by-case basis. That is very important. We will be meeting the new WADA president John Fahey for talks in February 2008."
On goal-line technology
"We need to wait until the final two games of the FIFA Club World Cup 2007 have been played and then analyse the results in detail. Afterwards we will present this subject to the International FA Board and see where we go from there."
On women's football
"We will provide the necessary financial support for women's football to continue to improve and to further promote the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Chile 2008 and the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup New Zealand 2008. Over the past 15 years, women's football has come on noticeably in all of the confederations. Women's football is now played throughout the world."
On the 6+5 rule
"Teams' national identities need to be preserved, and this tendency has been observed by all of the teams at the FIFA Club World Cup 2007. I am very pleased that more and more clubs are moving in this direction."