Stage is set for the 2002 FIFA World Cup™

Seoul, 25 May 2002 - Meeting in Seoul on 25 May under the chairmanship of Lennart Johansson (Sweden), the Organising Committee for the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ found the preparations of co-hosts Korea and Japan to be perfect. At a media conference held in the International Media Centre in Seoul Johansson expressed his satisfaction: ”Everything is under control. The co-operation with both the Korean and Japanese organisers is extremely professional.”

The problems regarding tickets and their delayed delivery are about to be solved. David Will, chairman of the sub-committee for ticketing matters, admitted that a series of circumstances, such as the configuration of the seating in the twenty World Cup stadiums, had delayed this long and complex process. While matches in Japan are virtually sold out with a few tickets trickling back into the market, some twenty percent of tickets were still available for matches in Korea. Will, however, was confident that those tickets would also be snatched up over the coming days. He also said he felt sure that the system had defeated the black market.

On the sporting side, FIFA General Secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen announced that Ali Bujsaim (UAE) had been chosen to officiate the opening match between defending champions France and Senegal in Seoul on 31 May. Bujsaim is one of FIFA’s most experienced referees, appearing for the third time in a row at a final competition after USA 94 and France 98.

Subject to ratification by the FIFA Executive Committee on 26 May, the Organising Committee also granted an exception to Argentina. In honour of Diego Maradona, the Argentine FA had withdrawn the number 10 jersey and asked that the substitute goalkeeper Roberto Bonano be allowed to wear jersey number 24. The FIFA General Secretary made it clear that this was to be a unique exception to the World Cup regulations and that it did not constitute a precedent.

As to the Irish skipper, Roy Keane, who according to media reports had left his squad for personal reasons, a late substitution is unlikely to be granted as there appeared to be no medical reasons for his departure. Keane’s name meanwhile remains on the official list of the 23 players competing for Ireland.

Another innovation will be implemented in the sports-juridical domain with disputes being submitted to the newly-created TAF (Football Arbitration Tribunal) that will render its decisions within 24 hours.


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FIFA Media Office
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FIFA Communications Division
Seoul, 25 May 2002