Editorial deadline for this issue: 27 November 1995


The world has changed in many ways since FIFA held its first symposium in Prague in 1988. The Czech Republic itself can bear direct testimony to this fact, having emerged, with Slovakia, as one of the "new" countries from the original Czechoslovakia in one of the less traumatic revisions of eastern European political geography. The warmth of the Czech welcome to some 150 delegates from 110 countries for this year's symposium in mid-November was, of course no less intense - on the contrary, as these delegates will readily testify.

But a quick look at the agenda for Prague 1995 reveals an interesting comparison with Prague 1988. For a start, the basic theme was significantly different. While in 1988 the tendency was rather retrospective or at least concerned with the status quo of world football, the week in Prague was a projection into the future, reflecting the perceived need to ensure that our sport remains not only competitive but progressive.

Significant, too, was the higher proportion this time of subjects which may be considered peripheral to the actual game itself, but which are undeniably vital to football as a whole: stadium design, playing equipment, the media, sponsorship and so on - not to mention topics which have assumed new dimensions since 1988, such as women's football and professional refereeing. The inclusion of such topics is an eloquent reflection of football's development in such a short time since 1988. Not that these facets did not exist at all at that time, of course, but in the intervening years they have inevitably attained greater relevance.

Although it was not included specifically on the Prague agenda, the expansion of information technology is another phenomenon within football as elsewhere in modern life. Here, too, FIFA is not only keeping pace with such developments but staying at the forefront, as announcements in this edition of FIFA News and also at the time of the World Cup Draw in December will reveal.

Indispensable as these modern communications systems are becoming, the discussions in Prague proved once again a fundamental point which is not necessarily in contradiction to these futuristic trends: simply, that the value of human contacts and the opportunity to discuss matters of common interest in an open forum can never be replaced by mechanical devices, no matter how useful and sophisticated the latter may be. Our sport, like all others, lives from the human spirit and the readiness of individuals to listen and learn from the opinions of others - opinions which may reflect not only rational analysis but, with equal validity, passionate and heartfelt personal commitment to the good of the game and its future prosperity. For the effective transmission of such commitment, nothing could replace the personal contacts which events such as the Prague symposium provided.

Joseph S. Blatter
General Secretary

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At the time of going to print, two further entries for the preliminary competition of the 1998 FIFA World Cup had been received. Following Guinea-Bissau, which confirmed its participation on 11 November, Uganda sent in its entry as the 172nd national association on 16 November.

Originally, Uganda had excused itself from taking part. Then when it finally enrolled, the African association explained that it had sufficient funds to ensure participation in the World Cup preliminaries. Guinea-Bissau, for its part, claimed that it had not been able to enrol earlier on account of the unavoidable re-election of the executive. The entries received from Guinea-Bissau and Uganda have now increased the number of enrolments in Africa to 38.

27 new teams in the preliminaries
Among the 172 enrolments from FIFA member associations, there are no fewer than 27 associations taking part in a World Cup for the first time:

Asia (8) - Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Philippines, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.

Africa (2) - Rwanda, Guinea-Bissau.

CONCACAF (6) - Aruba, Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis.

OFC (3) - Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tonga.

UEFA (8) - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina (provisional member), Liechtenstein, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Ukraine.

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The French local organising committee (LOC) is beginning to intensify activities a little more than two-and-a-half years before the final competition in France. The increasing activity is reflected in the fact that the LOC moved to new offices covering 3,600 m2 on five floors in a building not far from the Eiffel Tower in mid-November. The new address is:

Comité Français d'Organisation
de la Coupe du Monde de Football FRANCE 1998
17/21 Avenue du Général Mangin
F-75016 Paris
Telephone: +33 (1) 4414-1998; Telefax: +33 (1) 4414-1800

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FIFA and the French organising committee are expecting a huge turnout from the media, especially from radio and television companies, at the draw in the "Carrousel" of the Louvre in Paris on 12 December. According to latest reports, no fewer than 35 radio and television companies will be broadcasting the 90-minute ceremony which will be interspersed with entertainment from Paris directly. Altogether some 700 media reporters have already obtained accreditation.

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On 6 November the Russian IOC member, Vitali Smirnov, was presented with the FIFA Order of Merit in Gold during a visit by FIFA President João Havelange and General Secretary Joseph S. Blatter in Moscow. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, Smirnov had assured the continuation and revival of sports organisations in Russia and was consequently honoured for his endeavours.

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More duties and responsibility for the confederations under the continued role of FIFA as the managerial body of world football: at their second football summit meeting the Presidents and General Secretaries from the confederations and FIFA passed several proposals to be submitted to the Executive Committee which will convene in Paris on 11 December.

There was general consensus that FIFA should maintain its role as the managerial body and sole organiser of the World Cup. The confederations may, if they wish, in future organise the preliminaries for all the other FIFA competitions (youth, women, Olympia, indoor football) themselves, whereas FIFA would continue to manage the preliminary and final competition of its paramount competition from A to Z. As from the 2002 World Cup, revenue from the World Cup would be optimised but not maximised.

Other points which UEFA had put forward for discussion in its strategy paper, Vision I, were either withdrawn or rejected. The suggestion to introduce a rota for the World Cup from continent to continent was greeted with general approval but no agreement could be reached as to when rotation should begin or in what order the confederations should succeed one another. This system was consequently rejected, as was the proposal to rotate the FIFA presidency. Proposals to limit the period of office of the FIFA President, to merge some of the confederations and to change the composition of the Executive Committee were also withdrawn.

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Football emcompasses the globe in celebration of the United Nations' 50th anniversary: on 9 December the ball will start to roll in Australia and South Africa, in the icy grip of Canada's winter in Winnipeg, in the summer sunshine of Brazil. 103 associations have confirmed their participation and each of them has undertaken to organise a football event to pay tribute in their own typical fashion to the foundation and work of the United Nations.

In honour of the first UNO General Secretary, Trygvie Lie, the key programme of the UN50 festivities will kick-off in his native Norway. An indoor football tournament with 7- to 16-year-old girls and boys will be played on 9 December in the Ekerberghallen in Oslo. Australia plans to launch a 24-hour nonstop football spree featuring five national teams of the Australian Soccer Federation (U-17, U-20, U-23 and the men's and women's national "A" teams). In Richmond, USA, the Fanzone Interactive Soccer Festival with Teofilo "Nene" Cubillas from Peru as the star guest will be doing the honours. And so it will go on - all around the world - throughout the day, reaching a fitting climax in Paris, in the presence of FIFA President João Havelange, with the activities for the World Cup Draw on 10 December.

The United Nations will itself be commemorating the occasion by issuing the "Passport to the Future," a booklet for the youth of the world. This UN booklet is designed to encourage young people to foster the spirit of cooperation between all races and creeds around the world and thereby actively assist the United Nations in achieving its aims; a theme which certainly finds resonance in football.

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FIFA has been closely following the developments in the case of the Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman and views with considerable concern the proposition that 18 of the 193 FIFA member associations might be obliged to disregard transfer regulations which are accepted and respected by all national associations worldwide.

In FIFA's view, it is clear that a small group of countries cannot be granted an exemption from sports regulations which are effective in all parts of the world and which operate successfully and efficiently and for the benefit of football at all levels.

FIFA feels that an international sports organisation simply cannot operate properly unless regulations are universally applied, and any other approach would lead to very serious problems. Such circumstances could even jeopardise the independent status of the 18 FIFA member associations concerned. That is why FIFA supports the action taken by the national associations concerned and by UEFA.

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A gala event will be held on 8 January 1996 in the "Teatro Nazionale" in Milan to make the FIFA 1995 player of the year award. The programme will start at 20.30 h. Media representatives who wish to attend are requested to apply for credentials as follows:

Press reporters and photographers:
Forms can be obtained from FIFA.

Television and radio representatives:
applications are to be made direct to:
Reti Televisive Italiane (RTI),
Ms Birgit Schnellinger,
Telephone: +39 (2) 2102-2123,
Telefax: +39 (2) 2102-3089

The deadline is 20 December 1995.

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Second FIFA Symposium and seminar for administration in Prague


Stimulating lectures and pithy debate: the second FIFA symposium held from 13 to 17 November in the Czech capital, Prague, proved to be just as fertile a forum as it was seven years ago.

The association representatives who came to Prague from all over the world enjoy the stimulating discussions. (Picture Czech Association)

The intensity of the debates in the meeting rooms and in the corridors was clear indication of the immense fascination for the participants of the topics being discussed. The 118 national associations from all six confederations represented in Prague, were able to benefit from the occasion to glean information and advice at first hand. In his opening speech, FIFA President, João Havelange, expressed satisfaction that this event brought all the confederations together under one roof and was thus perfectly geared to FIFA's universal role. He believed that the conclusions drawn from this event and the seminar for administrators would be a valuable contribution to paving the way for the football of the future.

The FIFA Deputy General Secretary, Michel Zen-Ruffinen, viewed the prospects and challenges facing football from a very special perspective. He emphasised that the present generation of players, coaches and officials must preserve the integrity of our sport as a legacy to pass on to future generations. FIFA Vice President, Lennart Johannson, also subscribed to these views and appealed to the participants to impart to others on returning home the know-how they had acquired at this symposium. By so doing they would play a useful role in strengthening solidarity among the football community.

The comments of Brazil's world champion coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, illustrated yet another aspect of football's recent history. Since the revolutionary years between 1966 and 1974 there have been scarcely no more radical changes in tactical strategies. However, precisely the opposite is true, as regards marketing, media and stadium design, as the lectures on the subjects testify. Sweeping changes and dramatic development have occurred in these fields that have had a marked influence on today's game, or automatically have led to innovations, as is clearly evident from the vast progress that has been made in players' equipment.

Many speakers dealt on the topics of refereeing and the Laws of the Game. George Cumming (Scotland) based his ideas on the "magic triangle" comprised of Law VII (Duration of the Game), Law XI (Offside) and Law XII (Fouls and Misconduct). The duration of a match and the number of minutes which a referee can add due to infringements of Laws XI and XII, can, as the experience gained at the 1994 World Cup in the USA proved, have a very significant influence. Expressing himself again in geometrical terms, Cumming referred to the "football square," the four "corners" of which: the Laws, the referee, the coach and the player, form a sort of symbiosis, each exercising a direct influence on the others.

The Canadian referee, Sonia Denoncourt: accomplished and dedicated on the field and on the rostrum. (Picture: Bildbyran)

In a lecture given by Hannelore Ratzeburg, which aroused considerable interest, she immediately answered the question "Women's football - what future? with "Women's football - what a future!." Seconded by the Canadian referee, Sonia Denoncourt, who was in action this year in Sweden, she pinpointed the progress which the women's game has made since it emerged from an uncertain past into a brighter future. Ratzeburg pinpointed television as the major factor contributing to the present boom in this branch of the game, particularly due to the broadcasts of the World Cup in Sweden. Sonia Denoncourt added her comments from the perspective of the woman referee who has had to struggle against all odds to gain a foothold in a sport hitherto dominated exclusively by men. The same obviously applies in football as in other walks of life: to achieve recognition women have to be twice as good as their men counterparts.

In the next few weeks these lectures will be translated into all four languages and may be obtained from the FIFA general secretariat.

The referees and linesmen and -women at the 1996 men's and women's Olympic Football Tournaments will be equipped with an electronic communication system as an experiment. At a meeting held prior to the start of the second FIFA Symposium in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, the Referees' Committee of the world governing body gave the go-ahead to the experiment, which is intended to improve communications among match officials.

Referees and linesmen and -women will be linked by a one-way impulse system. Equipped with a transmitter, linesmen and -women will be able to send an electronic signal to the receiver worn by the referee to draw the latter's attention to incidents which might otherwise result in a late call or escape his/her notice.

Further decisions taken by the Referees' Committee:

  1. 32 match officials (16 referees and 16 linespersons), eight of which will be women, are to be appointed for the Olympic Tournaments ;
  2. to speed up the game, ballboys at FIFA competitions will in future be able to use reserve balls;
  3. Swiss referee, Kurt Röthlisberger has been suspended internationally for three months for breaching the rules by displaying political slogans on his referee's jersey;
  4. at its 1996 annual meeting, the International FA Board will be looking for a new designation for linesmen which will more aptly define their role as assistants to the referee.

The Technical Committee also passed several resolutions at its meeting. It called for safety improvements for portable football goals, underscoring that they should be firmly anchored to the ground. The committee also discussed measures to combat corruption in football and welcomed the initiative for football to widen the scope of its social engagement by fostering the participation of the mentally handicapped.

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The start of a new era in FIFA;s communications' policy


The latest information on the FIFA World Cup and other FIFA competitions, the current edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, press releases and the Laws of the Game are now available for football fans surfing the Internet. The world governing body's information service - FIFA ON-LINE - can now be accessed at on the Net.

This new service is intended to expand its flow of information from FIFA to the media and general public. "As a global federation, FIFA intends to be a constant source of information to everyone all over the world," said FIFA General Secretary Joseph S. Blatter. "The explosive development in the sphere of computer networks and especially Internet opens up opportunities that we cannot leave untapped."

Initially, FIFA ON-LINE is an information-based service in English with Spanish and French versions to follow. Comprehensive details of match results from all of FIFA's competitions will be available as well as articles and illustrations and graphics from FIFA News and FIFA Magazine. In addition, complete coverage of the World Cup draw in Paris, including a complete list of the groups, will be accessible on-line immediately after the ceremony on 12 December.

Hundreds of enquiries are responded to by the FIFA Communications Department every day. Given the increasing complexity of the enquiries, over the past few months technical and logistical requirements for a "virtual press office" have been set up. To this end, FIFA has been negotiating a joint cooperative arrangement with its marketing partner, ISL, and with the En-Linea company in Los Angeles, founded by Juan José "Cheché' Vidal, former head of technology of the 1994 World Cup.

In the course of 1996, FIFA ON-LINE will expand its services to include the FIFA Electronic Archives, a database of all of FIFA’s competitions. A variety of chatline forums to foster discussions among football fans worldwide will also be added.

Links to other official web sites such as the 2002 World Cup bidding committees of Japan and the Republic of Korea can also be accessed from FIFA ON-LINE. Additional links, particularly one for the French Organising Committee for the 1998 World Cup, are in the pipeline as well. Long-term plans provide for the opportunity for information to be exchanged via Internet, as a world network, among the associations and confederations in addition to existing communication technology.

NB: The Netscape Navigatortm or a compatible browser is recommended for access to FIFA ON-LINE.


The creation of new information networks, such as FIFA ON-LINE also has a positive effect on the world governing body's printed media. This November issue of FIFA News is the penultimate issue in the currently familar form. In 1996 the contents of the News and the Magazine will be revamped. Starting in February 1996, the Magazine will appear every two months as a 48-page publication. It will be supported by FIFA News, which will continue to be issued every month, but in the guise of an official gazette, principally featuring bulletins and official information, plus an enlarged section for match results.

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The final of the second Women's World Cup in Sweden between Norway and Germany (2-0) captured millions of televiewers in both countries. The live broadcast by the German television channel, ARD, recorded a rating of 14 per cent (market share 17.5 per cent), totalling 5.97 million viewers. The figure was even more impressive in Norway, where practically every third inhabitant of the population of four million followed the high drama on the screen. Norway's state channel, NRK, recorded a rating of 27.4 per cent, which rose to 33.6 per cent during the final, totalling 1.225 million viewers.

And another communication in retrospect to Sweden '95: the French lineswoman, Corinne Lagrange, was six months pregnant at the time of her engagement at the Women's World Cup. Taking the Cooper Test successfully and running relentlessly on the sidelines were apparently just what the doctor ordered for the expectant mother and her child: 7th October saw the birth of a bouncing baby boy, Matthieu (3.86 kg and 52 cm).

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The recurring issue of the use of television and video films to resolve controversial situations was one of the burning topics at the 6th SPORTEL Symposium in Monte Carlo in mid-October, with FIFA General Secretary, Joseph S. Blatter, a prominent participant in a lively debate. Not only was football included in the discussion, but other sports too. However, the popularity of football and the frequency of television coverage made our sport clearly the centre of debate. A mixed audience of leading representatives of the media (especially television), technicians and referees and other officials from football and other sports were split in their opinions as to whether video should be used to clarify match situations.

The FIFA General Secretary repeated FIFA's clear position that video would continue to be used in football merely for disciplinary purposes, to help elucidate unclear situations or cases of mistaken identity, or incidents which occurred behind the referee's back. Thus video footage could be used to help determine the extent of a disciplinary measure, but could never be used to change the referee’s decision in the game itself. FIFA's clear position on this topic contrasted sharply with that of certain other sports which have experimented with "video referees," only to modify such experiments or drop them altogether.

As renowned French sports journalist, Jacques Ferran said in summing up the four-hour debate, "Some sports depend upon technical judgement for determining winners and measuring time or space. Perhaps other sports should better consider how to use technological methods too. But if we become too perfect, too precise, too foolproof, this removes some of the moral value of sport and makes it less attractive to the human spirit."

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1996 Board meeting in Rio de Janeiro
Next year the International Football Association Board will not be meeting in Northern Ireland, as originally planned, but in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) on 9 March.

This is something of a novel excursion from the usual practice, given that Board members have been meeting either in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over the past 110 years or, in World Cup years, in the host country.

The only exception was the 1994 meeting that was held at the FIFA offices in Zurich.

The proceeds from the charity match in aid of the Kobe earthquake victims in January this year have enabled the Japanese association to present the Japanese Red Cross with a cheque for USD one million.

Better safety precautions thanks to high tech: The Italian Serie A Division club, Parma Calcio, has introduced laser cards for season ticket holders in time for the start of the 1995/1996 season. Parma Calcio is the first sports club in the world to implement this new technology for ticket sales. The 22,500 tickets have been manufactured by an American company and have a storage capacity of four megabytes. They can only be used by their legitimate owner. Forty electronic reader/writers at the stadium turnstiles will be able to read or store information on the tickets and pass selected information on to the main disc, which records the number of spectators and their seats. The identity card, which is virtually fake-proof, is also intended to improve crowd safety at football matches significantly.


Jan Redelfs has died
FIFA is mourning the death of the refereeing expert, Jan Redelfs (Germany) who passed away on 10 November 1995 after a long illness. Redelfs was a member of the FIFA Panel of Instructors for Refereeing and numerous courses had benefited from his specialised skills.

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