Media Release

Fédération Internationale de Football Association

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Clear declaration to defend the autonomy of sport

At its two-day meeting in Zurich, the FIFA Executive Committee once again delivered a clear message regarding the need to defend the autonomy of sport and especially football. Under the chairmanship of FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, the committee reaffirmed the resolution passed by the International Olympic Committee, the national Olympic committees and the international sports federations on 21-22 September 2006. The Executive Committee also directed President Blatter and vice-president Lennart Johansson, who is also the president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), to continue to work together on the challenges that are currently facing the game, particularly in Europe. 

The Executive Committee also listened with satisfaction to a report on the status of preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa and underlined its support for the Local Organising Committee. However, the Executive Committee stated that it was now expecting work to begin, particularly on constructing and renovating the stadiums.

The dates for the final competition of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ were set for 11 June to 11 July 2010. The allocation of places will be the same as for 2006, i.e. Europe: 13; Africa: 5; Asia and Oceania: 5 (4.5 + 0.5; play-off); South America and CONCACAF: 8 (4.5 + 3.5; play-off); hosts (South Africa): 1. 

The preliminary competition for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ will be played in the confederations as follows:
- Africa: the qualifying competition for the African Cup of Nations will once again be combined with the preliminary competition for the FIFA World Cup™ (start date: 13/14 October 2007).
- South America: the league system will once again be used (home and away matches) for a single group of 10 associations, but only double-header dates will be used. The provisional start date is September/October 2007.
- Oceania: in three phases, as for 2006. The first phase will be combined with the South Pacific Games 2007 and the OFC Nations Cup 2008, and the winning team will enter a group in Asia's final round.
- Asia, Europe, CONCACAF: in groups that have yet to be determined.

The preliminary draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ will be held in Durban on 23 November 2007, and the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 will be held in the five venues of Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg (Ellis Park), Pretoria and Rustenburg from 14 to 27 June.

With regard to the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, which in accordance with the rotation policy and a decision passed by the Executive Committee in May 2002 is to be held in South America, the committee opened the official bidding procedure for South American member associations. If only one association submits a bid, and if this association meets all requirements, the procedure will be accelerated. The FIFA Executive Committee will reach a decision on the host country in November 2007.

In relation to the allegations made against vice-president Jack A. Warner and the Simpaul Travel company with regard to World Cup ticketing, the FIFA Executive Committee followed the recommendation of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee chaired by Marcel Mathier (Switzerland) and closed the file. The recommendation reads as follows:

1. The Executive Committee expresses disapproval of vice-president Jack A. Warner's conduct and reminds him to exercise the requisite level of care in ticketing matters in the future and to strictly abide by all directives.
2. Jack A. Warner should, in particular, ensure that his son, Daryan Warner, does not abuse the position held by his father.

With regard to the "Win in Africa with Africa" initiative, the Executive Committee approved the construction of 25 artificial turf pitches in as many African associations at a cost of USD 18.5 million. This proposal had been tabled by the relevant body based on the "Football for a Better World" regulations. The Executive Committee also confirmed a budget of USD 50 million (FIFA's profit share from the final accounts of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee Germany) for other similar special projects on other continents. The "Football for a Better World" fund, which incorporates the "Win in Africa with Africa" initiative, implements and supports sporting and humanitarian projects in under-privileged regions all around the world and is also open to donations from external partners.

The FIFA Executive Committee also reached the following decisions on various member associations:

- Ratification of Iran's suspension, which has since been partially and provisionally lifted to allow Iran's
U-23 national team to compete in the Asian Games in Doha. Iran has until 12 December to accept the specified conditions, and failure to do so will result in the suspension staying in force.
- Ratification of Kenya's suspension, which is still in place. The Executive Committee encouraged the stakeholders of Kenyan football that have accepted FIFA's Statutes and decisions to continue on their path towards normalisation.
- The situation in Poland and in Albania will be clarified during visits by joint FIFA-UEFA delegations. The same will apply to Peru, with a joint delegation of FIFA and CONMEBOL to visit the country.
- With regard to the Togo FA, the Executive Committee expressed its support for the independent electoral committee set up by FIFA and CAF and for its determination to hold independent and democratic elections.
- Finally, the Executive Committee ruled that Gibraltar does not meet the statutory requirements to become a FIFA member.

Further decisions:

- A working group was set up under the chairmanship of Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder to work on an insurance solution for players released for international duty.
- Payments from the FIFA Financial Assistance Programme were suspended until further notice for 59 member associations that still have not submitted their statutes to FIFA for inspection. This decision affects 22 associations from Asia, 14 from Africa, 7 from North America, Central America and the Caribbean, 3 from South America and 13 from Europe.
- Two offers for the Brazilian TV rights for the 2007-2014 period were evaluated, with the Executive Committee accepting the offer from TV Globo.
- FIFA's four representatives at next year's meeting of the game's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board, in Manchester on 3 March 2007 will be FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, vice-president David Will, vice-president and chairman of the Referees Committee Angel Maria Villar Llona and FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi.
- The official inauguration of the Home of FIFA will take place on 29 May as part of the programme for the Congress, which will be held in Zurich on 30-31 May 2007.

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