Focus to fall on future of football

In pursuance of the task set by this year's FIFA Congress in Zurich at the end of May, the world governing body's new Strategic Committee will begin work at its inaugural meeting on Tuesday 9 October.

"In addition to implementing the decisions passed at the Congress and continuing discussions on finances, sports politics and competition-related matters, the Strategic Committee will also address a number of new topics that have gained prominence in recent months," explained FIFA President Joseph Blatter, outlining the committee's impending work.

Set up by the 2005 FIFA Congress in Marrakech, the Task Force "For the Good of the Game" through its working groups for competitions, financial matters and political matters identified many key issues that could have a pivotal impact on the future direction of football and started to take measures to address them. For example, an early warning system to combat illegal betting activities has been introduced, which will be used again during the preliminary competition for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.

The task force also carried out the preliminary groundwork for both the new Players' Agents Regulations, which, if approved by the FIFA Executive Committee at its forthcoming meeting on 30 October, will come into force at the start of next year, and the transfer matching system that is set to be piloted as of January 2008.

Moreover, the Strategic Committee, chaired by Michel Platini and like the task force composed of specialists representing all the key groups of the international football family, will consider the issues of third-party ownership of players as well as requirements relating to club ownership that endeavour to ensure more transparency in terms of stakeholdings, finances and corporate governance and will ultimately serve as the foundations for official FIFA regulations for licensing all professional clubs.

The position of clubs within the international game is another pertinent matter that relates to both competitions and sports politics, and specific issues to be looked at by the Strategic Committee include the coordinated international match calendar, insurance for players on international duty and relations between clubs and associations.

Another question to be debated is the procedure for dealing with clubs that cede their place in a league or division to another club. The Strategic Committee will also consider whether the enforcement of decisions passed by football authorities is effective and being monitored properly.

Other items featuring on the committee's agenda include football in extreme climatic conditions, refereeing and the Laws of the Game.