2000 Olympic men's final to be held in the main stadium in Sydney
The Organising Committee for the Olympic Football Tournaments, Sydney 2000, chaired by Issa Hayatou (Cameroon), expressed great satisfaction with a presentation from the local organising committee, SOCOG. The men's (16 teams) and women's (8 teams) competitions will be staged in five towns: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra. The men's final on 30 September 2000 will be played in Sydney's new Olympic Stadium, which has a capacity of 115,000. The futuristic sports ground is due to completed next spring and will be inaugurated with a match between the Australian hosts and a world selection, the FIFA All Stars, on 12 June 1999.
The committee accepted the belated enrolment from the Philippines for the Olympic football preliminaries. Mauritania and Sierra Leone have both withdrawn so the number of competitors now is at 150. The Philippines were drawn by lots to compete in group 6 of the AFC preliminaries (Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Nepal, Philippines).
The committee also reaffirmed the ruling on age limits. Male players born on or after 1 January 1977 may be fielded for the Olympic Final Competition (including those who have already featured in an Olympic competition). However, each team will be allowed three players who exceed this age limit and who will not be subject to restrictions. There will be no change to the numbers in the squads as stipulated by FIFA and the IOC: a maximum of 18 male and 16 female players.
On Wednesday, the Committee for the FIFA Youth Competitions, chaired by Jack Warner (Trinidad and Tobago), received reports from the Organising Committees for the World Youth Championship (Nigeria, 3-24 April 1999) and the Under-17 World Championship (New Zealand, 10-27 November 1999).
The Nigerian organisers provided details on the status of preparations in eight candidate venues (Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Bauchi, Kano and Kalabar). A report from the FIFA medical inspection team was presented to the members, which reassured the Committee on the general medical infrastructure but also identified certain aspects which required further improvement. There was also a lengthy debate on television, and the procurement of new broadcast equipment for all stadiums. The committee also noted with satisfaction that, now that the European Union had lifted its embargo against Nigeria, the European finalists would no longer be prevented from competing.
The U-17 organisers submitted details for the event in twelve months’ time, indicating that all planning was on schedule.
The Media Committee, chaired by Chuck Blazer (USA), discussed various issues arising from France 98, including further improvements of the media service for future World Cups. Although fully aware of the importance of the media at the World Cup, the Committee agreed on the need to restrain the expansion of the media operation and facilities. Among other business, the Committee is to draft guidelines for minimum standards and other requirements for media arrangements at non-FIFA events, for the guidance of national associations and other organisers. FIFA will also examine a proposal from the International Sports Journalists Association to holds joint seminars for sports journalists.