MAY 1996


Editorial deadline for this issue: 20 May, 1996


Joseph S. Blatter, General Secretary, FIFA It has been a long and at times difficult path from New York on October 27, 1994, when the Executive Committee took a number of decisions regarding the designation of the 2002 World Cup host country, to the imminent meeting of the same committee in Zurich on June 1.

There has been no difficulty for FIFA or the two candidate national associations, Japan and Korea Republic, to adhere to the principles approved in New York. At each clearly defined stage along the way, including the formal confirmation of the candidatures in February last year and the presentation of the dossiers last September, as well as the official inspection of the two countries towards the end of last year, the national associations concerned have emphasised the seriousness of their intentions by their promptness, their thoroughness and their attention to detail. In this respect, they have set new standards.

It is important to remember that the timing of this countdown, the basic principles of the bid process and the contents of the terms of reference for the candidates have never been questioned by either party, thus confirming the validity of these established procedures. But neither can it be denied that while history shows the award of the 1938 World Cup to France instead of Argentina to have created a major controversy, the campaign to stage the World Cup since then has never aroused such emotions as on this occasion.

The experience of the past 18 months or so has been unprecedented in its intensity. It has certainly left FIFA wiser with regard to the procedures to be followed in future, and a number of proposals have already been made how the bid process may be adapted in order to avoid excesses. As the organisation of the World Cup becomes an even more desirable proposition in the years ahead, it will be essential to preserve the dignity of the campaign to win such an honour.

The responsibility now lies with the Executive Committee, which will deliberate the current situation in private on May 31 and June 1. One may rest assured that this experienced body will keep the interests of football uppermost in its mind, and take the decision which is the most appropriate to ensure the smooth running of the world's premier single sports event, thus bringing this long-running drama finally to an end.

Joseph S. Blatter
FIFA General Secretary

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Two years prior to the kick-off for the 1998 World Cup finals, the French organising committee introduced the event's official mascot in Paris on 18 May: a cockerel complete with scarlet comb, blue plumage and a bright yellow beak. Six agencies were commissioned to submit their ideas. The design of graphic artist, Fabrice Pialot, from the firm of Dragon Rouge was selected as the best.

The choice of a cockerel, which is not only essentially French but also evocative of the heralding of dawn, forms an association between mascot and logo (introduced in autumn 1994) which depicts the sun in the guise of a football rising on the horizon. Our little feathered friend who will be a familiar feature of the World Cup has not been christened yet but this autumn a vote will be taken among the general public to pick a name for him.

Mascots have been a component of the World Cup ever since 1966 when "World Cup Willie" became the talisman for the teams in England. He was followed in Mexico in 1970 by "Juanito", then by "Tip und Tap" (Germany 1974), "Gauchito" (Argentina 1978), "Naranjito" (Spain 1982), "Pique" (Mexico 1986), "Ciao" (Italy 1990) and lastly "Striker" at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

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FIFA has received seven formal bids from organisations interested in acquiring the international television rights for the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and 2006.

The deadline for such bids had been set for 12.00 h. (CET) on Wednesday, 15 May 1996. By that deadline, offers had come in from ABC Television (USA), CSI (Switzerland), CWL (Switzerland), IMG (USA), Sporis (ISL)/Kirch (Switzerland) and TEAM (Switzerland).

An offer had already been received by FIFA from the international consortium coordinated by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). This consortium holds the current contract for World Cup television rights for the 1998 World Cup in France. The consortium's agreement with FIFA also covered the 1990 and 1994 World Cup finals and includes a provision for priority negotiations, which have been in progress since last December.

The value of the 1998 worldwide rights has been set at 230 million Swiss francs in agreements between FIFA and the consortium and ABC-TV.

"It is clear that the rights for 2002, wherever the event is held, will show a substantial increase over the current contract," said FIFA General Secretary Joseph S.Blatter. "FIFA is very gratified by the interest shown in the World Cup by so many prominent television companies."

The offers will be carefully studied by the sub-committee headed by the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Poul Hyldgaard (Denmark), and a full report submitted to the Executive Committee meeting on 31 May which will then decide on what further steps to take.

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In circular 588, dispatched on 15 May, FIFA pointed out that, in keeping with Art. 8 par. 1 of the Regulations governing the Status and Transfer of Players, it is the duty of the national association which is intending to register a player to submit the request to the national association which the player is planning to leave. In other words, a national association that receives an international certificate from another association without having requested it mmust not register the player concerned with one of its clubs before it has asked the association releasing the player to issue another certificate.

Problems are also occasionally encountered whenever a player registers with a football club and at the same time as an indoor football club. In reply to requests from several national associations and after consulting the appropriate FIFA committees, the wording of the letter dated 4 December 1995 has since been changed slightly, as follows:

  1. A player may be registered with two different clubs belonging to the same national association provided one registration is for football and the other for indoor football.

  2. f a major suspension (i.e. for a definite period of time and not for a number of matches) is imposed on a player as a result of an infringement committed in either category of football, the suspension will apply to both types of the game

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    Thanks to four victories and a draw in the final round against Mexico, Canada retrieved the confederation's U-20 title which they had held ten years ago. This means that Canada, together with Mexico who were equal on points, have secured a berth for the 1997 FIFA/Coca-Cola Cup in Malaysia. CONCACAF has up to now been entitled to two slots in the finals of this competition. However, should the FIFA Executive Committee confirm at the end of May that the number of contenders will be increased from 16 to 24, then the USA and Costa Rica will also get a ticket for Malaysia.

    The FIFA Referees' Committee decided at its meeting this spring that reserve referees at the qualifying matches of the FIFA World Cup France 98 and at all international "A" matches are to wear an official outfit unmistakably identifying them as FIFA referees.

    The adidas outfits which were sent to the national associations last year are compulsory for World Cup preliminary matches.

    For international "A" matches which do not form part of a FIFA competition, any brand of equipment may be worn provided the name FIFA is imprinted on the back of the tracksuit.

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    Brazil is mourning one of its all-time greats: Ademir Meneves, the best marksman at the 1950 World Cup, staged on his native soil, died of cancer at the age of 74. With 35 goals to his credit in 41 international matches, Meneves followed in the footsteps of Pele, Zico and Tostao.

    On 14 May former Czechoslovak international, Leopold Stastny, died in Toronto at the age of 85. Stastny, who also played for the Slovak national team, became a coach of both club and national teams (Slovakia and Austria) after ending his career as a player.

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    In conformity with art. 43 par. 2 of the FIFA Statutes, FIFA suspended the Greek FA indefinitely on 13 May with immediate effect. This step was prompted by the fact that the statutes adopted by the Greek FA in November 1994 have so far not received the approval of the Greek government.

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