Convening in Sydney today (Friday 30 May), the 58th FIFA Congress adopted a resolution about "6+5" and ratified version 3.0 of the World Anti-Doping Code (see separate media releases available on the right hand side). It also voted for a number of statutory amendments and other questions related to the eligibility of players to play for representative teams and the principle of promotion and relegation.
Before that, the FIFA President addressed the delegates. Tackling the issue of competitiveness, he noted that, "Even within our 'club', there is a growing sporting and economic inequality, especially among clubs. There is a decrease of competitiveness. Many clubs do not play to be champions, but to finish 4th, 5th, 6th or even not to be relegated. Something is wrong here. This does not match with the philosophy of our game. We need to try to correct this." Outlining FIFA's mission to "Develop the Game, touch the world, build a better future", he also reasserted FIFA's commitment to fight against "discrimination, racism, corruption, doping, illegal betting and violence". With regard to FIFA's Refereeing Assistance Programme (RAP), launched to develop refereeing all around the world, the President called for professional referees in professional leagues and for football to "keep a human face!"
The Congress received an update on a number of strategic and sports political matters currently dealt with by FIFA such as club licensing and ownership, players' agents, player transfers and betting activities.
The delegates also took a number of other decisions:
- The FIFA Congress approved the proposal of the Executive Committee to replace the Organising Committee of the FIFA Club World Cup with the Committee for Club Football, whose tasks will be to organise the FIFA Club World Cup and consider issues relating to the interests of club football worldwide.
All proposals regarding the eligibility to play for representative teams were approved (see items 13.1 and 13.2 of the Congress agenda); this includes a new wording of art. 17 (d) of the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes which now reads: "[...] he has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association." These proposals shall come into effect immediately.
In order to establish the principle of promotion and relegation worldwide as well as ensure that taking part in a domestic league can only be granted on sporting merit, the Congress adopted the inclusion of a new article in the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes (art. 19), the content of which is available in the Congress agenda (available on the right hand side).
201 FIFA member associations attended the 58th FIFA Congress (Afghanistan, Benin, Cape Verde Islands, Dominica, Gambia, Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago were absent). At the start of the proceedings, the FIFA Congress approved the agenda of the 2008 Congress, the minutes of the 2007 Congress in Zurich, the FIFA Activity Report and FIFA's finances. The delegates approved the consolidated financial statements for 2007 (the full financial report is available on FIFA.com) as well as the revised budget overview 2007-2010 and the detailed budget for 2009.