On the eve to the opening matchday of the inaugural Youth Olympic Football Tournaments in Singapore, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter answered questions from the assembled journalists. Accompanying him on the podium were Dr. Mong Joon Chung, FIFA Vice-President and Chairman of the FIFA Organising Committee for the Olympic Football Tournaments, Mohamed Bin Hamman, the AFC President and Zainudin Nordin, President of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter*On the Youth Olympic Football Tournaments
*When the IOC (International Olympic Committee) took the decision to stage the Youth Olympic Games, the proposed age limit for participants was from 14 to 18. But as FIFA have a series of age group competitions which are under-20 and under-17, then it was obviously a logical and proper approach that we have boys and girls of 15 years old for the Youth Olympic Football Tournaments. The principles of this tournament are education, respect and bringing peoples together. As set forth by Pierre de Coubertin (founder of the modern Olympics), the aim of the Olympic Games is to “bring youth together.” So we took the decision that Youth Olympic Football Tournaments will have teams representing each continent and that these representatives should be countries that don’t have a chance to compete at the Olympic Games.
For these countries, involvement in the Youth Olympic Games will be tremendous boost for them to improve their game and it will be a great honour for them to go to Olympic Games. This comes back to the original idea of it being “more important to participate than to win”, which was set forth by De Coubertin. The boys and girls can spend time together in the Olympic Village exchanging and learning only not from sports side but also at the social and educational level in order to build a better future for themselves.
*On expectations for the next FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil in 2014
*Before a meeting with people from the Local Organising Committee in Zurich recently, I told them that after the success of South Africa 2010, the bar has been raised for all future FIFA World Cup hosts. They have to work hard. I hope to visit Brazil in November 2010 to meet the LOC and hopefully the new political leaders.
*On China’s reported bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup
*Officially, we haven’t heard anything from China that they want to bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. It is important also to say that bidding for 2026 has not been opened yet, as we will announce this December the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. Therefore we cannot rule anyone in or out for 2026 as of today. The last FIFA World Cup at South Africa 2010 is just over and we are in full preparation for Brazil 2014.
*On goal-line technology
*We will have a meeting in October, when we will bring the point of goal-line technology. It is now on our agenda. The Cairos-Adidas system said they will have something simpler and the Italian group presented by the Italian FA said they now have a system which is absolutely accurate. We have the Hawk-Eye again and then a Swiss watch company Longines - they said they have something that will beat everything else. So we will have a meeting in Cardiff and in this meeting all of these people can come and present their different items. My personal opinion on goal technology has never changed. If we have an accurate and simple system then we will implement it. But so far we have yet to be presented with such an accurate and simple system.
*On the current health of Asian football
*When Mohammed Bin Hammam took over the Presidency of the AFC, something changed. We've seen 'Vision Asia' and 'The Future is Asia' initiatives. I think personally that the future of football and the economy could be in Asia, as it has two thirds of the world's population. The AFC and FIFA can help through it's development programmes, but the Member Association has to want to improve too. If you look at the J-League and K-League, they have helped to develop the national teams, and the development of the AFC Champions League has also contributed to improvements. I also would specifically compliment the Asian referees at the World Cup, who were very good.
FAS President Zainudin NordinIt is our big pleasure to host the Youth Olympic Football Tournament and to welcome President Blatter and his team in Singapore. We (Singapore) participate in the boys’ tournament and are eagerly looking forward to our opening match against Zimbabwe. I hope our players show their progress and do our nation proud. We are also eager to show our abilities and our high standards at the organizational level, and I am fully confident that this event will be a huge success.