The 58th FIFA Congress finished in trademark Sydney sunshine with a number of important decisions taken on the protection of national teams, clubs and leagues, 6+5, and the signing of the WADA agreement. Present at the post-Congress press conference were Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA President and Jerome Valcke, FIFA General Secretary, where a new method of awarding the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups was announced.
On the future FIFA World Cups
Joseph S. Blatter: The Executive Committee of FIFA will decide the host countries for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups at the same time, and this will be before June 2011. Currently interested are Mexico, United States, England, Spain, Netherlands-Belgium, Russia, Qatar, China, Japan and Australia. If we can offer two competitions for eight years to our partners and broadcasters and give extra time for planning, the economic result for FIFA will be better. The existing rule that a continent cannot host the FIFA World Cup twice in a row will not be changed. This was to make sure that it would go to Africa otherwise it never would have. As the next two World Cups will be in the southern hemisphere, it is perhaps logical that Australia concentrates on the 2022 tournament. The two tournaments will be held in different continents.
Joseph S. Blatter: After contributions from Guatemala, Australia, Saudi Arabia, FIFPRO, Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini, the congress came to a decision of 155 in favour of the resolution and 5 against. The FIFA President and the UEFA President now have a mandate from Congress to explore the limits of the law and go into a discussion with the European Union. The new rules would take effect at the end of 2010. Football is optimistic and I am optimistic, as is the Executive Committee. We have stood firm to ensure the FIFA statutes are respected in many countries. The European Union has 27 states and 30 Associations. This is 15 per cent of the FIFA family, should they make the rules for football? If I was a bad boy I would ask 'Is this not political intervention?'. In the Treaty of Lisbon which was signed in October 2007 and comes into effect on 1 January 2009, sport has been given specificity as have its structures and organisations. We have support from Pele, Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, Michel Platini and Alex Ferguson. We will not fight Brussels, we are just asking for solidarity. I'm sure it will be a success, I'm very confident.
On promotion and relegation
Joseph S. Blatter: We have clearly said that the decision taken by Congress will not affect existing leagues although it will send a strong indication for them to adapt. It is an important principle for the Executive Committee and the Congress to maintain. If this is not clearly defined we could have a repetition of the situation in Spain with the CAS overruled the Spanish Federation and a 4th Division team went to the 2nd Division.
On the lifting of the ban on Iraq
Joseph S. Blatter: The Government of Iraq has now left out football from its proposals and has put back the Association's statutory rights, so we were able to lift the ban.
On nationality regulations
Joseph S. Blatter: The congress has ruled in favour of stopping the transaction of players, including young players, who change nationalities after residence of only two years. We speak not of dual nationality, but of someone who wants to take another nationality. The new rule will be that a person has to have lived in that country for five years and it starts when the person is 18-years-old as opposed to now when it can be younger. This is to protect young players.
On the WADA agreement
Joseph S. Blatter: We have signed the WADA agreement, I am happy that the principle of individual case management has been accepted.