At its meeting in Zurich on Sunday, 27 May, the FIFA Executive Committee, convening for the 23rd and final time in the cycle that is now drawing to a close, focused on the final preparations for the 57th FIFA Congress at Zurich's Hallenstadion on 30-31 May.
Chaired by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, the Executive Committee paid special attention to finalising various matters for the closing presentation of the Task Force 'For the Good of the Game' to the Congress. This body, which was created by the 2005 Congress in Marrakech, was split into three working groups to discuss issues relating to finances, competitions and politics. The task force will now, together with these topics, be merged into the Strategic Committee, a standing committee that now requires ratification from the Congress before it can grow into an international football forum with key figures from all sectors of football, including representatives of the players and the clubs.
With regard to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa, the Executive Committee and the President in particular underlined, once again, that FIFA has the utmost confidence in the local organisers. This declaration of support will be reiterated during a personal visit to South Africa by Joseph S. Blatter in mid-June.
The Executive Committee also decided to approve the staging of a benefit match between an African XI and a Rest of the World team in honour of Nelson Mandela. This match will be played in Cape Town on 18 July 2007, the 89th birthday of the Noble Peace Prize holder and former South African President. Retired football stars from Africa and from countries all over the world will play in the game.
For medical reasons and in the interests of player health, the executive also ruled that in future, no international matches may be played at an altitude higher than 2,500 metres above sea level.
In relation to the 'Football for a Better World' programme, the Executive Committee also approved various projects for the 'Win in Africa with Africa' initiative and the 'Football for Hope' movement. With this in mind, the committee also stressed that further, similar projects would be developed for other continents.
Furthermore, the associations of FYR Macedonia and Kazakhstan were given a deadline of 15 June 2007 by which to reinstate the leaders elected according to their respective statutes, and were warned that failure to do so would result in the FIFA Emergency Committee discussing the imposition of a suspension on the associations.
Further decisions included:
- The FIFA Executive Committee will designate the host country of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 at its meeting in Durban, South Africa in late November. The candidates are Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Peru.
- A number of additions to the Olympic Football Tournament regulations were approved.
- In accordance with article 76 of the FIFA Statutes ('International matches and competitions'), the Football Association of Malaysia was instructed to cancel a friendly match against Manchester United that had been due to take place in Kuala Lumpur during the period of the AFC Asian Cup.
- The same association was given permission to hold the 'Champions Youth Cup' from 5 to 19 August 2007.
- There will be an open invitation to tender for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ hospitality rights. These rights are due to be assigned at the end of 2007.
- With regard to the television rights 2007-2010 for the sub-Sahara region in Africa (comprising 42 territories), the Executive Committee decided to push ahead with negotiations with the AUB (African Union of Broadcasting) with a view to reaching an agreement. Contracts have already been signed with ART for northern Africa and with SABC for South Africa.
- Amendments to seven articles in the FIFA Disciplinary Code were approved.
- Only players who have full nationality status will be permitted to play for the national team of the country in question.
- Wellington Phoenix, a club from New Zealand, were given permission to replace Knights FC, also of New Zealand, in the Australian A-League.