The FIFA Council held its second meeting in its new composition at the Home of FIFA in Zurich this week. Over two days (13 and 14 October) the Council discussed a series of issues relating to the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ bidding process, women’s competitions, the FIFA Football Awards 2016, the venue for the 67th FIFA Congress and FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future – a roadmap for the future of the organisation.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino welcomed the Council, including several new members and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, who was attending her first FIFA Council meeting. He underlined the many challenges faced by FIFA and its commitment to tackling these head on.
As part of this commitment and to ensure that concrete steps are taken to move FIFA forward, President Infantino presented members with a roadmap for the direction of FIFA’s future, entitled “FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future”. He emphasised that this was the first time in the organisation’s history that it has published a roadmap on how to effectively grow the game, enhance the football experience for fans and players and build a stronger institution.
The President also updated Council members on the scheduling of a series of global “Executive Football Summits”, which will provide a platform for the member associations (MAs) and confederations to discuss matters of strategic importance with FIFA. Led by top executives, the meetings will see MA representatives invited to take part in summits at six different locations around the world, chosen to ensure accessibility, language compatibility and diversity. The first Executive Football Summit will take place in Paris this November.
Following various presentations and subsequent discussions among the FIFA Council members, the following decisions were taken on:
The bidding process for the 2026 FIFA World Cup: Following discussions in a positive spirit, the 2026 FIFA World Cup may have an expanded 40- or 48-team competition format, pending further analysis of different options by the FIFA administration, with a final decision to be made on the format at the next Council meeting in January.
Furthermore, the following principles were approved:
· Approval of the general principle that MAs from confederations of the last two hosts of the FIFA World Cup (i.e. UEFA and the AFC) will be ineligible to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. However, the FIFA Council will have the power to grant eligibility to MAs of the confederation of the second-to-last host of the FIFA World Cup (i.e. UEFA) and open the bidding process to any interested MAs from this confederation in the event that none of the received bids fulfil the strict technical and financial requirements.
· Approval of the general principle that co-hosting of the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be permitted, not limited to a specific number, but evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
· Approval of the general principle that, for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the FIFA general secretariat, after consultation with the Competitions Committee, will have the power to exclude bidders who do not meet the minimum technical requirements to host the competition.
2018 FIFA World Cup™
· Approval of the final competition regulations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
· Approval of the International Women’s Calendar 2018-2019.
· Approval of the slot allocation for FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™.
FIFA Football Awards 2016
· Will be held in Zurich on Monday, 9 January 2017.
67th FIFA Congress
· Will be held in Manama on Thursday, 11 May 2017.
FIFA standing committees
· Update on the composition of the nine new committees which will replace the existing 26. Final lists to be presented to the Council following the completion of statutory eligibility checks.
Other notable decisions included:
· Approval to the change of dates for the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017 from 9-30 July 2017 to 7-26 July 2017.
· Approval of request for solidarity funds by the Japan Football Association in response to the significant damage across the country caused by the severe earthquake in April 2016. The financial support will assist with the renovation costs for artificial pitches.
· Appointment of Mr Bruno de Vita (Canada) as second deputy chairperson of the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee until the next FIFA Congress in May 2017, subject to passing the eligibility check to be conducted by the independent Review Committee.
· Appointment of a normalisation committee for the Hellenic Football Federation.
· Chairman of the FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine Tokyo Sexwale provided the Council with a comprehensive update on the latest actions and discussion points.
The next meeting of the FIFA Council will take place on 9 and 10 January 2017. As part of its new set-up, the FIFA Council will meet three times a year in January, May and November.