Chaired by FIFA President Blatter, the FIFA Executive Committee today completed its last meeting of the year in Marrakech, on the eve of the final of the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup.

The Executive Committee unanimously supported the recommendation expressed by the chairman of the independent Audit and Compliance Committee Domenico Scala in his report to the Executive Committee today that the chairmen of the Ethics Committee (both chambers) publish the report on the inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup™ Bidding Process prepared by the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee.

The Executive Committee stressed that such a publication must of course fully adhere to the provisions of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE), notably the obligation of confidentiality (art. 36 of the FCE).

It also recommended that such a publication should only occur after cases against individuals have been concluded, as also recommended by Mr Scala.

Furthermore, the Executive Committee took note of Domenico Scala’s report and legal opinion regarding the 2 December 2010 decisions (i.e. the vote for the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups™), notably that “the members of the FIFA Executive Committee – given the findings of the report of the chairman and deputy chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee on the inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup™ Bidding Process – do not have to revoke the decisions taken by the Executive Committee on 2 December 2010.”

The Executive Committee also welcomed the recommendations of the Ethics Committee, supported by the independent Audit and Compliance Committee chairman, regarding future bidding processes, with the aim now being to focus on the 2026 FIFA World Cup™.

Following the resignation of the chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, Michael J. Garcia, the Executive Committee appointed the current deputy, Cornel Borbély, to chair the chamber until the next FIFA Congress in May 2015.

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™
The Executive Committee approved the tournament dates, with the opening game to be played on14 June and the final on 15 July 2018. The FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 will kick off on 17 June and end on 2 July 2017.

It also agreed that the AFC and CONCACAF could start their preliminary competitions prior to the Preliminary Draw (scheduled to take place in St Petersburg on 25 July 2015), with the first games kicking off in March next year.

Furthermore, thanks to the good financial results of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, a proposal from the Finance Committee for each member association to receive a contribution of USD 300,000 to the costs of qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ – subject to audit – was approved.

2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™
The Executive Committee confirmed that the dates of the competition would be decided at their next meeting in March 2015. The Task Force for the International Match Calendar 2018-2024 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, which is chaired by AFC President Shk. Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa, will hold its next meeting in Doha on 24 February.

Regarding the issue of labour rights in Qatar, the Executive Committee confirmed its strong support for the creation of an independent body – as recommended in the relevant DLA Piper report – to oversee the implementation of the reform programme in the country. It also mandated FIFA President Blatter, with Dr Theo Zwanziger, to discuss this issue with the political authorities of the country and make sure that FIFA was represented on this body.

Israel-Palestine
The Executive Committee heard a detailed report from Cyprus FA President Costakis Koutsokoumnis, who was appointed to observe the implementation of the approved parameters concerning the movement of players and officials into, out of, and within Palestine (see FIFA circular 1385). While the report expressed its satisfaction on the progress achieved during the last six months, it also stressed that FIFA’s ultimate objective was the full implementation of circular 1385 – which had not yet been achieved – as soon as possible. As a result, the Executive Committee clearly expects the pace of implementation to accelerate during the coming months. In order to further improve the situation, the Executive Committee has decided to invite the DCO (Palestinian District Coordination Offices) and COGAT (Israeli Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) to participate in the working group together with the Palestinian FA, the Israel FA and FIFA, in order to ensure full implementation of the said circular.

Furthermore, FIFA President Blatter stated: “I condemn the recent raid on the offices of the Palestinian Football Association. Such actions are not only a blow for the international football community but it also puts the whole process at risk. Football shall unite. I encourage the Palestinian FA to continue its successful work for football in Palestine, which culminated with their qualification for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup.” 

Regarding other FIFA member associations, the following decisions were taken:

 - Cyprus: the Executive Committee commended and expressed its support for the considerable efforts of the President of the Cyprus Turkish Football Association (CTFA) relating to the arrangement signed by the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) and the CTFA last year aiming to unify and facilitate the progress of football within the football communities on the island of Cyprus. It called upon the CTFA to apply for membership of the CFA as soon as possible.

 - Togo (FTF): appointment of a normalisation committee to revise the FTF statutes and to organise elections by 30 November 2015 at the latest

 - Iraq: independent group to travel to Iraq with FIFA Vice-President HRH Prince Ali bin al Hussein to assess the security situation in view of the possibility of international matches being played there

 - Ratification of the recent decisions of the FIFA Emergency Committee on the situation in Maldives and Cameroon.

Third-party ownership of players’ economic rights
Following its decision of general principle that third-party ownership of players’ economic rights (TPO) shall be banned with a transitional period, the Executive Committee approved the following measures:

 - The ban will come into force on 1 May 2015

 - Existing agreements shall continue to be in place until their contractual expiry

 - New agreements made between 1 January and 30 April 2015 will be subject to a time limit (one year maximum)

Protection of minors
In order to strengthen the protection of minors and due to the increased number of international transfers of players younger than 12, the Executive Committee has approved a reduction in the age limit for which an international transfer certificate (ITC) is required to the age of 10.

Fight against Ebola
The Executive Committee commended the “11 against Ebola” campaign supported by top international players, FIFA, CAF and the World Bank to support the fight against the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Other decisions:

 - FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ : approval of an increase by 50% of the prize money (from USD 10 million in 2011 to USD 15 million for the 2015 edition), with USD 2 million for the winning team

 - FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017: appointment of the Bahamas as hosts

 - Refereeing: regarding the age limit for FIFA international referees, the Executive Committee approved the proposal from the Referees Committee that every FIFA referee over the age of 45 shall be carefully evaluated by the Referees Committee every year according to technical assessments, medical examinations and fitness tests

 - Futsal: approval of the 2016-2020 Futsal International Match Calendar

The next meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee will be held in Zurich on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 March 2015.