FIFA commits to protecting minors
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The FIFA Executive Committee, chaired by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, convened in Zurich on Thursday and Friday, 19-20 March 2009, for its first meeting of the year.

The protection of minors was a key point on the agenda. The FIFA President repeated that it is "our responsibility to protect young players" and mentioned that this will be a major topic at the upcoming FIFA Congress. The Executive Committee approved the Players' Status Committee's proposal that its dedicated sub-committee for dealing with transfers involving minors be composed of 11 members as follows: AFC (1), CAF (1), CONCACAF (1), CONMEBOL (1), OFC (1), UEFA (1), leagues (1), clubs (1), players (1), chairman and deputy chairman of the Players' Status Committee. Furthermore, the executive welcomed the recent CAS decision backing FIFA's efforts in the protection of minors in the case of the Danish club Midtjylland FC (see www.FIFA.com/media) and the resolution signed by UEFA, as well as by the European Club Association, the European Professional Football Leagues and FIFPro Europe, to protect minors in Europe.

Anti-doping
The executive discussed the issue of team whereabouts and confirmed that only the whereabouts of a team and not those of individual players (with the exception of players who are injured for a long time or suspended) have to be provided for the purposes of doping control. Indeed, FIFA is of the opinion, like other team sports, that, in football, out-of-competition doping control should be performed at the training facilities because players are with their team six days out of seven and therefore, easy to locate. Also, FIFA believes that no tests should be carried out during the holidays of the players - which are short - so that the privacy of players can be respected. Over 25,000 doping control tests are carried out each year in football.

2008 finances
The 2008 FIFA Financial Report was presented to the executive. The accounts for 2008 reveal that world football's governing body recorded income of USD 957 million and expenses of USD 773 million, leading to an overall surplus of USD 184 million and equity amounting to USD 902 million. Also, FIFA did not experience any losses on its financial assets in the last financial year.

Therefore, despite the ongoing international financial and economic crisis, FIFA's finances are sound. This is the result of a conservative and responsible financial policy by FIFA, including, amongst others, successful cost management (in 2008, FIFA remained 13% under budget) and the diversification of its financial assets.

The FIFA World Cup™ financial results contribute to a large extent to FIFA's overall budget (approx. 95%). Therefore, to cover the eventuality of any edition of FIFA's flagship competition being cancelled, and taking into consideration the fact that September 11 considerably changed the insurance market for such events, FIFA has sought to secure a level of equity which would enable it to continue its activities, in particular its worldwide football development mission, by remaining financially independent and prepared for unforeseen events.

Click the link to the right to see the 2008 FIFA Financial Report.

2009 FIFA Congress
A presentation of the preparations for the 59th FIFA Congress, which will take place in Nassau (Bahamas) on 2-3 June 2009, was given to the Executive Committee members. The items on the agenda of the Congress will include, amongst others, the protection of minors, the "6+5" rule and the eligibility criteria for the Men's Olympic Football Tournament.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™
A positive report was made about the infrastructure and the preparations as well as on the great support from the South African government. Additionally, there is a very high demand for tickets, especially from fans outside of South Africa.
The release of players for FIFA's flagship event was also discussed and the following schedule agreed:
- 11 May 2010: release list of 30 players
- 16 May 2010: recommended final day of competitions (exception: UEFA Champions League final on 22 May 2010)
- 17-23 May 2010: mandatory release of players and official rest period
- 1 June 2010: final list of 23 players
Moreover, in order to introduce more flexibility into the process, it has been decided that injured players may be replaced - up until 24 hours before the kick-off of their team's first match - and the replacement would not have to come from the 30-player list.

FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009
The executive noted with satisfaction the readiness of facilities and preparations. However, efforts must be made to increase ticket sales (approx. 180,000 tickets sold so far out of a total of 647,000 tickets available).

FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009
Although health and security conditions have been identified as potential issues, assurances and guarantees have been promised to FIFA personally by Nigerian Vice-President Dr Goodluck Jonathan. The executive expressed their trust in the Nigerian government as well as the Local Organising Committee. Another FIFA inspection visit will take place in Nigeria in May.