Chaired by FIFA President Blatter, the FIFA Executive Committee on Friday completed its first meeting of the year at the Home of FIFA in Zurich. Based on the proposal of the Task Force for the International Match Calendar 2018-24 chaired by Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa, the executive decided that the 22nd edition of FIFA’s flagship event would be played in November and December 2022, with the final taking place on 18 December 2022 – Qatar’s National Day – and with the objective, in principle, of staging the tournament in 28 days. A working group will meet in due course to finalise the international match calendar for the 2019-2022 cycle.

FIFA President Blatter and Secretary General Jérôme Valcke also provided updates on their recent visits to Qatar with a focus on workers’ welfare. The executive acknowledged that the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy is doing a thorough job with regards to the workers’ welfare programme applied to 2022 projects but reiterated that sustainable welfare standards must be achieved across the country for all workers.

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™
The executive confirmed the venues for the following matches:

-          Opening match (14 June), second semi-final (11 July) and final (15 July) at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow

-          First semi-final (10 July) and third-place match (14 July) in Saint Petersburg

It also approved the following venues for the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017:

-          Saint Petersburg: opening match (17 June) and final (2 July)

-          Kazan: first semi-final (28 June)

-          Sochi: second semi-final (29 June)

-          Moscow, Spartak Stadium: third-place match (2 July)

Alongside automatically-qualified hosts Russia, world champions Germany and Asian champions Australia have already secured their spots in the eight-nation competition.

Furthermore, an extraordinary Executive Committee meeting will take place on 30 May in Zurich after the FIFA Congress, with the new composition of the Executive Committee, to discuss the slots for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups™.

Participation of clubs in the benefits of the FIFA World Cup™
The executive welcomed the extension of the collaboration agreement between FIFA and the European Club Association (ECA). Part of the agreement governs the distribution of the benefits generated by the FIFA World Cup™ to the clubs, with an amount set at USD 209 million for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ and the same amount for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™. The agreement puts the emphasis on fundamental principles such as the sporting integrity of the competitions. Similarly, the agreement includes provisions governing adherence to the international match calendar. In addition, FIFA will continue the “Club Protection Programme”, by which clubs are compensated for losses incurred due to players being injured during matches of national teams.

2026 FIFA World Cup™
The executive decided that the bidding process to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will kick off in 2015, with the appointment of the hosts planned for the FIFA Congress in May 2017.

Women’s football
Women’s football was a major item on the meeting agenda. In addition to receiving the latest updates on the preparations for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Canada, the executive decided to appoint France as hosts of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019™ (as well as the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2018), Papua New Guinea as hosts of the U-20 Women's World Cup 2016, and Jordan as hosts of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2016.

Finance
The executive approved FIFA’s Financial Report 2014, which gives an overview of the budgetary cycle 2011-2014 that concluded with the FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil. On top of being a sporting and operational success, the positive financial results of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ enabled FIFA to increase its contributions to the entire football community. Following FIFA’s solidarity model, the revenue generated by football’s flagship event was redistributed among the participating teams and all FIFA member associations. Indeed, over the four-year cycle, more than USD 1 billion was invested in football development projects throughout FIFA’s 209 member associations and the six confederations. Furthermore, a record contribution of USD 476 million was shared with the participating teams as well as the clubs that released their players for the event.

The independent Audit and Compliance Committee chaired by Domenico Scala recommended to the Executive Committee to approve the Financial Report 2014, including the financial statements for 2014 and 2011-2014.

The International Football Association Board
Following the recent decision of The International Football Association Board regarding the so-called “triple punishment” (Law 12) of sending off, penalty and suspension for the denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity within the penalty area, potential amendments to the FIFA Disciplinary Code will be examined at the next meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee in May.

Political interference
In reaction to various cases of political interference, the executive, while reiterating the necessary respect towards national legislation, called for a stop to interference by political bodies into the affairs of football’s governing bodies.

Other decisions: 
-          The executive appointed the United Arab Emirates as hosts of the 2017 and 2018 editions of the FIFA Club World Cup
-          Cameroon FA (FECAFOOT): the mandate of the normalisation committee was extended until 30 September 2015
-          Sri Lanka FA (FFSL): the mandate of the current FFSL leadership was extended until 31 May 2015 for the organisation of elections of new office bearers; furthermore, it was stressed that the FFSL statutes will have to be revised within one year of the elections
-          The request by The FA to be given one further season’s dispensation (until the end of the 2015‑2016 season) to abandon the system of short-term loans was approved.

The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held in Zurich on 25 and 26 May 2015, ahead of the 65th FIFA Congress.