March 1996

  • TALKING POINT: To Everybody's Advantage
  • The International F.A. Board Adapts the Advantage Rule
  • Rights for the FIFA World Cup
  • Julio Grondona remains FIFA Vice President
  • Refereeing, Olympic and Futsal the Main Issues
  • Olympic Football Tournament Referees and Assistant Referees
  • No Exceptions to Reacquisition of Amateur Status
  • Intercontinental Championship Every Two Years
  • Players' agents: associations may draw up their own regulations
  • Memorandum

    Editorial deadline for this issue: 19 March 1996


    As has frequently been pointed out in these columns and elsewhere, the meetings of the International Football Association Board are characterised by reserve rather than revolution.

    But keener observers less intent on the spectacular side will not have been left dissatisfied by the decisions taken in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month. The adjustment of the advantage rule, to allow the referee to bring the play back to a free-kick if the anticipated advantage does not ensue, can be a subtle but important factor in enhancing a positive attitude in the game.

    Critics, few as they are, have not been slow to point out that the rule still does not specify how long the referee should wait before deciding whether to stop the play or let it continue. It has been claimed by some that the new rule adds to the pressure on the referee, but this is not true. A good referee (and there are plenty of those) already effectively applies this momentary "wait and see" policy, revealing that inside feeling for the game.

    It is not something that can be expressed in seconds or metres but depends upon intuition and understanding of the game.

    The Sports Medical Committee, on the other hand, is less inclined to wait and see. Unhappy with the effectiveness of a tighter control of tackles from behind, this body is alarmed at the still high rate of injuries suffered by players to the lower legs and advocates the complete ban of any tackle in the future.

    In all situations, the referees will be challenged to distinguish clearly between what is allowed and what is not. They have so far risen to challenges of this kind, and we are sure they will also do so with regard to the new advantage rule as well as to control tackling.

    Joseph S. Blatter
    FIFA General Secretary

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    At its 110th annual general assembly in Rio de Janeiro, the International Football Association Board passed a new ruling concerning the advantage clause. It also renamed the linesman “assistant referee” and ruled out experiments with larger goals.

    Football's supreme authority on the Laws was moderate but purposeful as regards this year's amendments and additions to the Laws of the Game. As a completely revised and re-edited version is planned for 1997, the Board restricted its business to only a few specific points.

    In view of the amendment to the advantage clause, the referee may now penalise the original offence even if the expected advantage does not materialise, provided he does so immediately. Coaches may now select their three substitutes from among a maximum of seven reserves instead of from among five, as was hitherto the case. This will give them greater scope in reacting to fluctuations in the game and will help improve standards of play.

    The new genderless term, assistant referee, is the Board's way of emphasising the increased importance of the linesman's role. Greater importance has also been attached to the role of the fourth official, upon whom it will now be incumbent to report to the appropriate authorities on any incidents that happen to escape the referee's attention.

    The Board decided on principle not to authorise experiments with larger goals. On the other hand, the trials being conducted with the kick-in by the Belgian Second Division may go on. The Board also made it perfectly clear yet again that factual decisions are irrevocable and may under no circumstances subsequently be reversed.

    A circular containing the resolutions passed in Rio is currently being drafted and will be dispatched to the associations shortly. Incidentally, the next issue of the FIFA Magazine will include comprehensive background information on the history of the Board and its working methods.

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    Just two months before the decision on 1 June 1996 as to whether the host of the 2002 FIFA World Cup will be Korea Republic or Japan, FIFA has now entered a stage of intensive negotiation regarding its major event, but these negotiations will not be concluded before the next Executive Committee meeting on 31 May 1996.

    On 15 November 1995, the Executive Committee members were informed of the initial situation with regard to the television and marketing contracts and were given comprehensive details on the issue at the Executive Committee meeting in Paris on 11 December 1995.

    The contracts which FIFA concluded with ISL Marketing and the international television consortium (CCC) for the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cups expire with the 1998 World Cup. New contracts for the rights for the 2002 World Cup and beyond therefore have to be concluded. The current marketing contract stipulates that FIFA's present marketing partner, ISL Properties AG, had an option on exclusive negotiation rights with FIFA up to 29 February 1996. So far no agreement has been concluded and negotiations with ISL Properties AG are continuing. At the same time, FIFA will be scrutinising the offers submitted by other interested parties.

    Meanwhile the CCC, taking advantage of a similar option, has submitted a final offer for the 2002 World Cup and beyond. FIFA is examining this offer to decide what response is to be made to the consortium and also giving close consideration to the other offers received in this respect.

    The FIFA President has entrusted the negotiations with the interested parties to the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Poul Hyldgaard (Denmark), and the General Secretary, Joseph S. Blatter.

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    Julio Grondona remains FIFA Vice President President of the Argentina FA, Julio Grondona, was reconfirmed as FIFA Vice President for South America at the CONMEBOL Congress in Mar del Plata on 3 March. Grondona has been a member of the FIFA Executive Committee since 1988. The mandates of Ricardo Terra Teixeira (Brazil) and Carlos Coello Martinez (Ecuador) do not expire until 1998.

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    Various standing committees of the world governing body held meetings at the FIFA headquarters at the end of February. In addition to agreeing on several administrative measures, they also passed decisions on FIFA competitions due to be held this year.

    At a meeting on 28 February, the Referees' Committee designated the match officials for the 1996 Olympic Football Tournaments (see the list below). The committee also discussed the professionalisation of refereeing at its meeting. An improved plan will be presented to the associations in a circular letter soon.

    The debates of the Futsal Committee (indoor football) focused on preparations for the third world championship, due to be staged in Spain from 24 November to 8 December 1996. The European participants have already been decided (cf. FIFA News 2/96) but the preliminaries for Asia, South America and Oceania have yet to be played. CONCACAF will hold its qualifying round in July. The arrangements for the preliminaries are still undecided in Africa, where the deadline for enrolment has been extended.

    As in Hong Kong in 1992, Snickers will be the presenting sponsor of the 1995 Futsal World Championship in Spain.

    For the tournament, sixteen match officials will be chosen from the various confederations:
    UEFA 5, CONMEBOL 4, CONCACAF 2, CAF 2, AFC 2 and Oceania 1.

    The Sub-committee for Urgent Matters of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Football Tournaments (chairman: Issa Hayatou, Cameroon) has decided to seed Brazil in group D in Miami, Orlando. Brazil won the South American preliminaries in March, beating Argentina to the post (see CONMEBOL Scoreboard for scores). The draw for both Olympic Football Tournaments will be staged in Atlanta on 5 May 1996.

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    ATLANTA 1996

    COLLINA, Pierluigi Italy
    DALLAS, Hugh Scotland

    JONSSON, Ingrid Sweden
    SKOGVANG, Bente Norway

    UN-PRASERT, Pirom Thailand
    AL-MEHANNA, Omar Saudi Arabia

    RUSCIO, Roberto Ruben Argentina
    PEREIRA DA SILVA, Antonio Brasil

    VASCONCELOS GUEDES, Claudia Brasil

    EL-GHANDOUR, Gamal Mahmoud Egypt
    BOUCHARDEAU, Lucian Niger

    ARCHUNDIA TELLEZ, Benito Mexico
    BAHARMAST, Esfandiar USA

    DENONCOURT, Sonia Canada

    LENNIE, Edward Australia


    NEUENSTEIN, Heiner Germany
    DUPANOV, Yury Belarus
    UGURDUR, Akif Turkey

    HOLM, Gitte Denmark
    VIENNOT, Nelly France

    JEON Young Hyun Korea Republic
    AL MUSAWI Mohamed Ahmed Oman

    ARANGO CARDONA, Jorge Luis Colombia
    VELAZQUEZ PINTOS, Carlos Adan Uruguay

    DANTE, Dramane Mali

    KELLY, Peter Trinidad & Tobago
    TORRES ZUNIGA, Luis Fernando Costa Rica

    RODRIGUEZ ROMAN, Maria Del Socorro Mexico

    FRED, Lencie Vanuatu


    YOSHIZAWA, Hisae Japan

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    Following a number of enquiries, the Players' Status Committee noticed that several associations had not been complying with the provisions contained in the preamble of the Status and Transfer Regulations. Paragraph 2 of the Preamble states that the rules laid down under Chapters I, II, III, VII, VIII and X and articles 30 and 34 are mandatory at national level as well. Any requests from associations demanding exceptions for their region will not be granted. The Players' Status Committee also emphasised that the minimum transitional period of six months before reacquisition of amateur status also applies to national associations internally.

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    As from 1997, the Intercontinental Championship, which will in future be organised under FIFA's auspices, will be held every two years. The host country for the 3rd series in 1997 is Saudi Arabia, who hosted the lst and 2nd series in 1992 and 1995. The number of contenders will be raised from six to eight teams: Saudi Arabia (1997 host), South Africa (CAF champions), Mexico (CONCACAF champions), Uruguay (CONMEBOL champions), along with this year's European and Asian champions or, should Saudi Arabia win the final round in December 1996, another Asian team. Brazil, as reigning world champions, will also be taking part. The team from Oceania is not yet known.

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    With effect from the beginning of 1996, the newly revised Players' Agents Regulations now permit national associations to draw up their own regulations for players' agents - but only for domestic transfers within the national association that have been arranged by players' agents licensed by that association.

    If an association chooses not to draw up its own regulations, then domestic transfers in the association and/or international transfers to or from another country must be carried out by a players' agent licensed by FIFA in compliance with Art. 1 of the FIFA Regulations governing Players' Agents.

    The associations were directed to point out to candidates during the interview that, in addition to possessing a licence issued by the national association or FIFA, they must also comply with the labour laws of the country in question before being considered as players' agents. Furthermore, the associations were reminded that players' agents would be entitled to employ assistants but whose work would be restricted to administrative duties only. Protecting the interests of players and/or clubs in negotiations with other players and/or clubs must remain be the exclusive domain of the agent.

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    Thank you from the General Secretary
    The General Secretary was touched and delighted with the innumerable gifts and messages of goodwill he received for his 60th birthday and wishes to thank everyone sincerely, via the FIFA News, for their kind thoughts. Unfortunately, it will not be possible for him to thank all wellwishers personally.
    • FIFA has reminded its members in a circular letter of their obligations under the terms of the statutes to report any “A” internationals being played. The demand from national associations, the media and the general public for information on these matches involving “A” national teams is huge and, in any case, the information is essential for the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.

      In the normal course of events, notification must reach the Federation 14 days before the match is due to be played, but in any case at least 48 hours before. Match reports must be sent in on the official form within 14 days after the game. So that FIFA may conduct its information service efficiently, the associations are requested to send FIFA a short official report containing the date of the match, the teams, the score and the names of the referee immediately after every “A” game, if possible, by telefax.

    • The Players' Status Committee has declared the players' agent, Marco Blazevski, persona non grata. Furthermore, it decided to limit the withdrawal of the licence from Rune Hauge to two years (see p. 8).

    • Now that new elections have been held at the association, the suspension imposed on the Nigerian football association has been lifted with effect from 19 February.

    • Following incidents in the game between Italy and Cyprus on 9 September 1995 during the International Military Championship, FIFA's Disciplinary Committee had imposed sanctions on four Italian players. In answer to an appeal lodged by the Italian association, the Appeal Committee passed the following final decisions: Alessandro Pierini will be suspended for three months, the suspension imposed on Nicola Amoruso will be raised from three to four months and each will be fined CHF 2,500. The sanction originally pronounced on the player, Stefano Fiore, was lifted. The punishment passed on the player, Francesco Flachi (three-month suspension, fine of CHF 2,500) and the censure and fine of CHF 5,000 imposed on the delegation are legally binding because they were not contested.

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