No more over-age players at FIFA Olympic Tournaments?
The FIFA Committee for the Organisation of the Olympic Football Tournaments has come out in favour of discontinuing the current rule whereby each of the finalist teams in the men’s Olympic Football Tournament may use three players over the age-limit of 23 years.
The Committee, meeting in Zurich under the chairmanship of Issa Hayatou (Cameroon), decided to ask the FIFA Executive to propose that next year’s FIFA Congress reverse its own decision and drop the provision for over-age players. All players should be under 23 years of age.
In the women’s competition, it was agreed to maintain the minimum age of 16 years.
The Committee reaffirmed that while Australia (as hosts) will qualify automatically for the 2000 men’s finals, the other 15 places will be allocated as follows : four for Africa (including an extra one in recognition of Nigeria having won the 1996 gold medal), four for Europe, two for South America, two for the CONCACAF region, and three for Asia, whereby the third Asian team will contest a play-off with the top team from Oceania.
In the women’s competition, the eight finalist teams will be Australia plus the top seven teams in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the United States.
The qualifying competitions are to run on a continental basis from 1 August 1998 to 30 April 2000.
The Committee noted with satisfaction that the Olympic authorities had agreed that the men’s Final should be played in the main Olympic Stadium in Sydney, while the women’s Final will be held in the Sydney Football Ground. There will also be first-round group matches in the host city of the 2000 Games.
The definitive match schedule will only be finalised at the end of the year, by which time the Sydney Organising Committee (SOCOG) will have submitted to FIFA a report regarding Melbourne as one of the venues for the Tournaments, in addition to Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra.