Following a meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee, which took place today in Tokyo on the eve of the FIFA Club World Cup final, Joseph S. Blatter and Jerome Valcke answered questions at a packed press conference. FIFA.com looks back at what was said.
Joseph S.Blatter, FIFA President
On the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011
Tomorrow’s final brings together two of biggest talents in modern day football. On one side we have Barcelona, with the famous [Lionel] Messi and other big stars, and on the other side we have the team of Santos, with Neymar, the rising star of Brazilian football. I’m very pleased to be here at the end of what has been a year full of challenges, particularly here in Japan. It was vital for FIFA to show our faith and trust in Japan after that triple catastrophe of the earthquake, tsunami and then the radiation. The impact of these disasters is still being felt today of course, but it was important for us to react just a few short weeks after this catastrophe took place to say that, yes, we would definitely come here for the FIFA Club World Cup. Personally, I had the chance to visit the affected regions and saw the extent of the damage. We at FIFA, out of solidarity, have put in place some measures to help, and although it is only a small gesture, I was delighted to witness a gathering of 200 to 300 young footballers in a stadium rebuilt thanks to our help. I saw there that joy and hope exists in Japan.
On future FIFA Club World Cups
The tournament will be played in Japan again next year, although we are insisting with the organisers that they use one of the stadiums rebuilt following the March disaster. The stadium in Sendai, for example, has been rebuilt and we would like to see matches played there. As for 2013 and 2014, we have taken the decision to host those FIFA Club World Cups in Morocco. We were given a presentation by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation and I expect the tournament will be excellent in all aspects: logistical, cultural and financial.
On the new task forces and the Independent Governance Committee
The four task forces have already had their first meetings and met with their respective chairmen. And not only have they been working individually, but they will meet together early next year. Our road map is very ambitious and we want to take time to look at the proposals made by the Independent Governance Committee so that we reach 2013 with results and decisions to be taken. The Executive Committee is united and stands strong, and has a determination to respond to the FIFA congress and to public opinion. FIFA will carry out the necessary reforms.
On the ISL/ISMM file
This is a matter particularly important to me. The Executive Committee took the decision that we would open up this file, and everyone thought that we would be able to open it today. But that will not be possible because at least one of the parties involved has appealed to a court in Switzerland, and the court has not yet handed down its verdict. I would have liked to have opened this file as soon as possible, as the Independent Governance committee with Professor Mark Pieth needs to be able to look forward. It’s important to be able to move on, so hopefully the Swiss court will allow us to be open and transparent.
On Executive Committee members Worawi Makudi and Issa Hayatou
The Executive Comittee reviewed the investigations involving Mr Makudi regarding real estate and Goal projects, and all was found to be in good order. The necessary documents were provided from Bangkok, so the case is closed. As for Mr Hayatou, there is no action required there. He was issued with a reprimand by the IOC regarding a very old case, but he is still a member of high standing with them and with FIFA too. There is no need to instigate any kind of enquiry because the Executive Committee trusts and supports him fully.
On Qatar 2022
I have repeatedly said, and I say again today, that FIFA is united when decisions are taken, and decisions will be implemented and applied. So the decision to give the 2018 FIFA World Cup to Russia and the 2022 edition to Qatar will stand. And if there are people inside FIFA and members of ExCo who continue with such derogatory declarations, I will personally intervene. So let’s look forward to these World Cups, and it’s important to say this World Cup in 2022 will be accessible to all cultures. After taking the World Cup to Africa, we are now taking it to the Arab world.
On regrets from this year
I have already said that decision to award two World Cups simultaneously was not the best and most intelligent decision we have made. A lot of our disturbances over the past year have come from that. But I look back to the Congress, when I was re-elected with a huge majority, and you will remember that I said then that the FIFA boat is not in still waters, but that we will bring it back to the port. Now, with the Independent Governance Committee, we are doing that. So, regrets? Yes. But I take a positive approach, and I still have energy to go forward to the end of my mandate in 2015.
On CONCACAF’s failure to appoint a new president since the departure of Jack Warner
This is for us a situation that is not comfortable and not acceptable. Of course, there are different problems affecting this organisation but we had hoped that the acting president would intervene to organise something and bring the confederation back to international scene. However, this has not yet been done, and the main reason for that is that there is a court case ongoing in the Bahamas. If situation has not moved forward in coming months, FIFA will have no choice but to intervene.
Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary General
On preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™
We are concerned that we have not yet received confirmation of the World Cup bill. However, there is a meeting at parliament next week that should approve the bill we agreed back in 2007 with the Brazilian government. There is no doubt that Brazil is not very far advanced, although at the level of the host cities things are working quite well. There remain problems with airports and roads, and there is not much public transport, but I must say we are very happy with the country’s new sports minister and his support for the World Cup.