The President of FIFA, Dr. Joao Havelange, has announced that he does not intend to stand for re-election at the FIFA Congress in 1998.
Dr. Havelange, who has been in office since 1974, made his announcement to the FIFA Executive Committee at its meeting in Barcelona.
As a result of changes in the FIFA Executive Committee following last July's FIFA Congress, certain changes have also been made in various standing committees. Among them there are the appointment of Julio Grondona (Argentina) as the new chairman of the Finance Committee, and of Dr. Viacheslav Koloskov (Russia) as chairman of the Committee for Women's Football.
While Charles Dempsey (New Zealand) and Mustapha Fahmy (Egypt) were attending a FIFA Executive Committee meeting for the first time as full members, the Asian Football Confederation will elect its new member of the Executive on 21 December 1996.
The Executive agreed on the need to improve safety in football stadiums, as well as to ensure adequate insurance coverage and better organisation to prevent over-crowding. Members concurred on a resolution supporting all measures, by FIFA and other authorities, to move towards the eventual removal of fences between spectators and the pitch.
The Committee discussed a request from the national association of Bosnia-Herzegovina to be allowed to play its home qualifying matches for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in Sarajevo. This request was supported by the Committee, who felt that this would give a psychological boost to football in Bosnia-Herzegovina and to the country in general.
The Committee approved a series of proposals concerning the organisation of the FIFA World Cup in 2002. These decisions are described in a separate FIFA communiqué.
FIFA is to study a project for a new world club championship, on the basis of eight teams participating every two years.
The Committee discussed at length the future of football in the Olympic Games. It was agreed that football (men's and women's tournaments) should remain part of the Olympics. However, FIFA will insist to the Olympic authorities that in 2000 the opening match and the final must take place in the main Olympic stadium in Sidney. The under-23 age-level should be retained, with teams having the non-binding opportunity to include three players over this age. The teams' costs should also be covered by the income from the Olympic Football Tournaments.
It was confirmed that the Czech Republic, as European runners-up, will represent Europe in the FIFA/Confederations Cup in Saudi Arabia in December 1997, as the champions, Germany, are unable to participate on the dates foreseen.
The Committee took note that the organisational responsibility for the so-called Castle Cup in Africa had now been taken over by the Southern African zone of the African Football Confederation (CAF). Thus, FIFA will give its formal approval to this tournament for 1997.
The Greek Football Association was instructed to pay USD 100,000 compensation to the Canadian Soccer Association for failing to participate in a tournament in Canada earlier this year.
It was confirmed that Kazakhstan must remain a member of the Asian Football Confederation and not transfer to UEFA.
A delegation from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation will visit Palestine and Bhutan in spring 1997 to check their application for FIFA membership. Meanwhile FIFA also noted that the African Football Confederation had already granted provisional membership to Eritrea.
Adaptations to the FIFA Players' Status and Transfer Regulations, as necessitated by the so-called Bosman ruling, were also discussed by the Executive. These adaptations notably apply to the regulations concerning the movement of European Union players between countries of the European Union. Precise texts will be worked out by the FIFA experts.
It was agreed that all players competing in the World Cup should be entirely under the responsibility of their respective official delegation also with regard to doping controls.
The Executive decided to give formal recognition of the International Association of Footballers' Agents (IAFA) in order to facilitate the functioning of the system of licensed players' agents.