Floor 17 of the Windsor Barra Hotel in Rio de Janeiro was the venue this Wednesday for the first official press conference of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008. FIFA.com brings you the main points of what was said.
Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary General
On the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008
We can say that the World Cup has started very well. Futsal is one of our most important tournaments because FIFA wishes to make sure it covers all forms of football. It may not be a significant sport everywhere in the world, but it is at least in those countries and regions that are powerful in footballing terms.
On futsal and the Olympic Games
It is not up to FIFA alone to decide if futsal should be an Olympic sport, it's a decision that should be taken in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee. Equally, we must set this issue within a wider context given the problems we had in China with regard to the release of players: first of all there will be an internal debate at FIFA on the subject and then we will speak to the IOC about the future of football at the Games. At the present time, the withdrawal of the sport from the Olympic programme is not under discussion, nor is it our wish to do so or that of the IOC. The discussions are more about deciding what form of football should be part of the Games.
Jim Brown, FIFA Director of Competitions
On the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™
With 2014 in mind, this Futsal World Cup could be an opportunity to learn how FIFA works, what our requirements are, what we're flexible on and what we're less flexible on. The FIFA World Cup, however, is a project unlike any other. But I want to stress that the preparations for 2014 are very good and that FIFA is impressed by the team that Mr (Ricardo) Teixeira has put together. But yes, we hope that positive conclusions have been drawn from this process with a view to 2014.
*On the number of naturalised Brazilians playing at the competition *
It's not ideal that the Italian team has a large number of Brazilian-born players. Besides which, we know that their futsal youth programmes also include a lot of players who are Brazilian by birth. Therefore, it is not a good example of what we're trying to do for the development of the sport. However, these players comply with the FIFA regulations currently in place, so there's not much we can do. Perhaps it will serve to illustrate what we're trying to do for football at large using the 6+5 rule.
On the next edition of the FIFA Futsal World Cup
We started the process to find the hosts of the next edition, and at that time the most concrete proposal was the one from the Czech Republic. However, as they weren't able to meet the deadline to formalize their proposal ahead of our last Congress, we agreed to put back said process until the end of this year. Since that point we've been made aware of other countries, such as China, showing an interest in hosting it, but we hope that given more time more interested parties will emerge."
Ricardo Terra Teixeira, Member of the FIFA Executive Committee, President of the FIFA Futsal and Beach Soccer CommitteeIt's a honour for us to host this tournament, which includes 20 nations instead of 16 for the first time. But it's important to emphasize that 97 countries took part in qualifying and that over 1.7 million people play this sport across the world. This Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro we had two games that show how much futsal is progressing: Spain, one of the favourites, draw 3-3 with Iran and Libya achieved the same result against Uruguay.
Hideraldo Martins, Executive Director of the Local Organising Committee
I want to take the opportunity to highlight a very special aspect of the Futsal World Cup: the "Lotação Esgotada" (Full House) project, through which a total of 140,000 children from deprived communities in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia will get to attend matches at this tournament first-hand.