After a two day meeting of FIFA's Executive Committee, and with the 58th Congress to come, a press conference was held in Sydney on Tuesday 27 May to explain the decisions taken. Attending the conference were FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter and FIFA General Secretary, Jerome Valcke. Among the topics discussed in depth were the 6+5 proposals, Iraq's suspension from FIFA and the awarding of future tournaments, including the FIFA Club World Cup.
The President explained that the Executive Committee's work over the two days could be divided in two, with the first day concerning Iraq and the second concentrating on the more positive news with tournament venues being decided for five future events.
On the suspension of Iraq
Joseph S. Blatter: The Executive Committee had no other alternative but to suspend the Federation after the Government said it would dissolve the National Olympic Committee and therefore all sports federations including football. This is contrary to FIFA statutes. They have until 29 May to withdraw this otherwise Iraq will not compete against Australia on Saturday. I can't understand it, the Iraqi FA has elections in the summer. But I am optimistic, I think they will play in the end.
On the new tournaments
Jerome Valcke: I am pleased to announce that Colombia has been awarded the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the Club World Cups of 2009 and 2010 will be in United Arab Emirates before going back to Japan in 2011 and 2012, Mexico will host the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup while the Women's U-17 version will be held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2010.
On the FIFA Club World Cup
Joseph S. Blatter: We wanted to bring the Club World Cup to other countries . The restrictions of the calendar meant that Australia's exceptional bid could not succeed. This would not affect its chances of hosting a World Cup though. To play it in the UAE will be beneficial from a marketing standpoint, and the fact that they pledged $5m USD for grassroots development helped their case. Although club football is already so crowded in Europe, I wouldn't rule out hosting it there at some stage.
Joseph S. Blatter: We have approved the new world anti-doping code, although I should stress that we signed the last one too - in 2004. Football has the highest number of tests and one of the lowest percentage of positives. It was good to have the new President of WADA, John Fahey with us.
Joseph S. Blatter: This is a subject close to my heart. I want to protect the national teams and prevent leagues having only a small number of clubs with any chance of winning the title. The Confederations have said they are in favour of the objectives of 6+5, but we should achieve this through negotiation not confrontation. It is now up to the congress to see if they support it. We could phase this in, starting with 4+7, then 5+6 before going to 6+5.
On playing at altitude
Joseph S. Blatter: The FIFA Medical Committee have recommended that teams must acclimatise properly if they play at high altitude.The Committee wants to examine this, and other extreme playing conditions such as heat, pollution or humidity. The Chair of the Medical Committee wishes to consider the wider implications of football under extreme conditions, so the Executive Committee has provisionally suspended last year's decision against playing at altitude.