April 1996

  • TALKING POINT: Better Late than Never
  • Associations notified of the amendments to the Laws
  • FIFA opposed to advertising projected onto the pitch
  • 2.5 million tickets for France 98
  • FIFA aids SOS Children's Villages
  • Guillermo Caņedo re-elected Senior Vice President
  • FIFA World Stars challenge Brazil on July 14
  • Zimbabwe's Olympic protest rejected

    Editorial deadline for this issue: 24 April, 1996


    Just as sceptics and optimists disagree whether a glass is half empty or half full, so it may be contested whether the Major League Soccer is two years late arriving in the United States or right on time.

    It is true that a new professional league in the US had been part of a comprehensive football promotion programme of which the 1994 World Cup was the centrepiece. And it is also true that FIFA would have liked to see the new league follow hot on the heels of the wonderfully successful World Cup.

    But there were valid reasons to delay the start and the United States Soccer Federation has kept its word. Thus seen, MLS is right on time. And what is especially gratifying is that the enthusiasm inspired by World Cup USA 1994 has proven so great that it has carried over the intervening two years -- and maybe even grown in the meantime, pushing the sceptics into the minority. The glass is definitely at least half full.

    But we must also be clear that now the USSF is faced with its biggest challenge, bigger in many ways even than that of organising the World Cup. The regular weekly routine is always a more difficult proposition than the one-off spectacular. And as has been seen in other new pro-leagues in Asia, it may take time for the MLS to find a natural level after the initial frenzy of excitement and media attention.

    FIFA's wish has always been to see football established as a major sport in the US, and not the unrealistic ambition of seeing it replacing the traditional sports in the nation's affections. The World Cup went an enormous way to giving football the credibility and acceptance it has long sought in that country. Now all we ask is for the MLS to consecrate that status.

    Joseph S. Blatter
    FIFA General Secretary

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    FIFA informed the associations in circular letter No. 585 on 10 April of the official text of the amendments to the Laws passed by the International F.A. Board on 9 March (cf. FIFA 3/96). The official edition of the Laws of the Game will be published in a few weeks and sent to the associations. The complete English version of the circular letter can be consulted and downloaded via FIFA ON-LINE (http://www.fifa.com).

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    The football pitch is no longer safe from modern technology. It has now come to FIFA's notice that virtual graphics can be projected onto the pitch using sophisticated computer systems. Commercial logos can now, for instance, be projected onto the centre circle so as to give the impression that the graphics are actually marked on the turf but, in fact, they are not.

    The world governing body has therefore drawn the attention of its members to decision 11 under Law I of the Laws of the Game according to which "any kind of publicity is forbidden in connection with or on the field of play". Projecting advertising onto the field of play is obviously something connected with the pitch and is an attempt the create the illusion that the logo actually exists on the turf.

    In order to avoid setting a precedent and to ensure the pitch remains an area completely free of advertising, FIFA emphatically pointed out that this type of advertising is prohibited.

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    The French Organising Committee (CFO) has set itself two objectives for the distribution of tickets for the next Football World Cup which France will be hosting in 1998: full stadiums for all the matches and the chance for the greatest number to attend this great event.

    "The World Cup must be a festive event in the stadiums," affirmed Michel Platini and Fernand Sastre, the Presidents of France '98, at a pres conference held March 25th, 1996 in Paris.

    2,500,000 TICKETS
    The 16th World Cup will require the largest ticket distribution operation ever developed in France. With 2.5-million tickets, France '98 will be far ahead of the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympic Games, for which 900,000 tickets were available. For the CFO, this involves a heady "logistical" challenge, as well as a financial one, as ticket sales must provide at least 40% of its revenue.

    "We count on selling 2 out of 3 tickets in France," declared Jacques Lambert, Managing Director of France '98, when presenting details of the ticket policy. Lambert added that the demand for tickets to such an event will certainly be greater than the supply. For example, 3.5-million tickets were sold during the 1994 World Cup held in the United States, thanks to its large stadiums.

    There will be a total of 64 matches on the progremme of the final phase in 1998. Following the 48 matches of the first leg, during which 32 of the worlds top national teams will be playing, come the 16 second-round matches, followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals, match for 3rd/4th place and the Final

    Three ticket categories will be available for World Cup matches, (four separate categories for the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, where the opening and final games will be held).

    With prices starting at 145 French Francs (FF), approximately US$30 for first round matches, half of all the tickets available for the 1998 FIFA World Cup will be priced below FF250 (US$50) in an effort to make the World Cup a festive event accessible to the greatest number of fans. The pricing structure will be identical accross all 10 venues.

    The flag-ship product of ticketing, the France '98 Pass was designed for the faithful football fans as well as the local and regional public. In the 10 World Cup host venues, the France '98 Pass allows the holder to attend upto five or six matches; all first round matches (except the opening match in Saint-Denis) and one second round match (except in Lyon and Nantes which will not be hosting second round matches).

    The France '98 Pass will be priced between FF 725 and FF 990 depending on the venue and the number of matches. For the first time in World Cup history, each participating team will play its three first round matches in three differtent cities. This new format will therefore, permit the France '98 Pass holder to watch two completely different teams face-off at each of the first round matches played at a venue. To make this great event even more accessible, the France '98 Pass can be paid in six monthly installments.

    Beginning May 4th for all Fédération Française de Football (FFF), and July 15th, 1996 for all members of Division 1 and Division 2 clubs, the France '98 Pass will be offered in priority reservation and at a preferential rate, with a purchase limit of 4 France '98 Passes per person. The early sale will last until September 30th, 1996, just before the opening of reservations for the general public in November.

    PRICES ARE AS FOLLOWS   (In FF*, VAT Included)
    FRANCE '98
    5 matches, including 1 second round 6 matches, including 1 second round 5 matches, including 1 second round 5 matches
    Category 1 Full price Member 1,900
    Category 2 Full price Member 1,300
    Category 3 Full price Member 990
    Category 4 Full price Member 780

    *(100FF is eqivalent to 19.25USD on 14.5.96)

    The reservation system set up by the CFO is simple. For licensees, reservation forms will be available at the 22,000 French football clubs at the end of April 1996. Club members will personally receive a reservation offer by mail, starting in July, and all one has to do is return the application to France '98 or confirm their booking by Minitel (the French on-line system).

    Beginning in November 1996, the general public will be able to reserve seats using several methods: by Minitel, by telephone and through the branches of the Crédit Agricole bank, a Commercial Affiliate of the French Organising Committee.

    In November 1997, single tickets to to quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals as well as single tickets to the opening match will be put on sale. These will be limited to two tickets per person and will be subject to a draw in an effort to provide a fair distribution. The sale of individual tickets to first round matches will begin in February 1998, depending on availability, which at this time is not expected to be high.


    Category 1 Category 2 Category 3
    St. Denis
    Category 3
    Other venues
    Category 4
    St. Denis
    Opening 1,250 850 500
    First Round 350 250 185 145 145
    Round of 16 500 300 250 200 200
    Quarter-finals 750 490 350 250 250
    Semi-finals 1,850 1,150 800 300 300
    3rd/4th Place 500 300
    Final 2,950 1,750 950
    *(100FF is eqivalent to 19.25USD on 14.5.96)

    As is only to be expected for this type of event, the catalogue of proposed products will also include VIP Products, made up of Boxes and Prestige seats. This offer is particularly intended for enterprises, notably regional enterprises, to which the CFO will be offering packages which included services such as reception, catering, parking.

    The sale of these prestige products will start at the end of 1996, both in France and abroad. It will be organized directly by the CFO.

    The sale of tickets abroad will be mainly handled through the different Football Federations for which FIFA has reserved 20% of the tickets, but also by the tour operators accredited by the CFO.

    As regards the tour operators, the objective of the Committee is to set up a very strict policy: selection of bids after submission of terms and references; and the issuing of an accreditation which will be without exclusive territory rights. The committee wishes in this way to avoid any monopoly situation that might lead to the resale of tickets at inflated prices. The sale of the France '98 Pass abroad will start at the beginning of 1997.

    The calendar of the different sales
    phases in France will be the following:

    The reservation of your ticket will not entitle you to receive it immediately. For security reasons, the tickets will not be printed and sent out to buyers until May 1998, a few weeks before the competition kicks off.

    When booking a ticket, each buyer will receive a confirmation of the reservation and payment, within a maximum period of one month. The allocation of numbered places will not be carried out until the beginning of 1998 when all the renovation work on the 10 stadiums of the World Cup has been completed.

    In May 1998 all tickets will be sent out by special security delivery. These tickets will be in the form of "souvenir tickets" and the most up-to-date security technologies will be used to print them to avoid fraud and counterfeit.

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    As previously mentioned, FIFA has set up an aid project in conjunction with the international children's charity, SOS Children's Villages. The aim of the project, which is run as part of President Havelange's FIFA youth foundation, is primarily to help the 200,000 children currently in the care of the SOS Children's Villages in 125 countries all over the world and to turn football's popularity to their advantage.

    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.

    FIFA has appealed to its associations in a circular letter to support the joint endeavours of FIFA and the SOS Children's Villages as far as they possibly can in accordance with their means. FIFA will organise a charity match between world champions Brazil and a world team in New York/New Jersey on 14 July for the benefit of the Children's Villages.

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    At the CONCACAF Congress held in Guadalajara on 13 April, Guillermo Caņedo (Mexico) was confirmed in office as Vice President for North and Central America and the Caribbean for another four years and therefore remains Senior Vice President (the longest serving vice president) of FIFA. The mandate of CONCACAF President Jack Warner as a member of the FIFA executive was also prolonged. The period of office of Isaac Sasso Sasso (Costa Rica) will continue for another two years.

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    FIFA World Stars challenge Brazil on July 14

    FIFA will organise its traditional charity match between the World Champions and a World Stars Team on Sunday July 14, 1996, at the Giants Stadium in New York/New Jersey.

    Proceeds from the match will go to the FIFA Youth Fund, of which the principal beneficiary will be the SOS Children's Villages organisation, which cares for over 200,000 disadvantaged children in 125 countries worldwide. A special project, FIFA For SOS Children's Villages, was introduced last year on the initiative of FIFA President Dr. Joao Havelange.

    The World Stars match will begin at 15.00 local time and will be preceded at 12.30 by an All-Stars match featuring players from the new Major League Soccer (MLS).

    The list of players who have already accepted FIFA's invitation to join the World Stars team include three World Players of the Year: Lothar Matthäus (Germany), Romario (Brazil, who will be playing against his World Champion colleagues) and the current World Player of the Year, George Weah (AC Milan and Liberia). Other players include Jürgen Klinsmann (Germany), Jorge Campos (Mexico), Marcel Desailly (France), Krassimir Balakov (Bulgaria) and Kazu Miura (Japan).

    The Brazilian national team under coach Mario Lobo Zagalo will face players from all continents, led by a trio of coaches: Richard Moeller Nielsen, coach of the Denmark team which won the 1992 European Championship; US team coach Steve Sampson, and his predecessor Bora Milutinovic, now coach of the Mexican team.

    • International media should address requests to FIFA's Communication Division, telefax +41 (1) 384.9696
    • US, Canadian and Mexican media should apply to the US Soccer Federation, 1801-1811 South Praire Avenue, Chicago IL 60616, telefax +1 (312) 808.1301

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    The Bureau of the Organising Committee of the Olympic Football Tournaments (chairman: Issa Hayatou, Cameroon) has turned down a protest about Nigeria from the Zimbabwe association in connection with the qualifying matches for Atlanta 1996 on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Zimbabwe had referred to a publication in which the date of birth of Nigeria's goalkeeper, Abiodun Baruba, had been given as 1969, which would have made him too old to take part (date of birth limit for Atlanta is on or after 1 January 1973).

    After consulting the African confederation, CAF, regarding official documents it possessed on the matter, the Bureau reached the conclusion that the evidence sent in by Zimbabwe was insufficient. This decision is final and Nigeria have therefore qualified for the tournament in Atlanta.

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  • FIFA has extended the twelve-month suspension imposed on the player, Jean-Marc Ithier (Sunrise, Mauritius), by the African confederation (CAF) to have worldwide effect, in compliance with Chapter V, point 2 of the List of Disciplinary Measures. Ithier, who physically assaulted the referee during the African Champions Cup, will therefore be banned until 12 March 1997.

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