The FIFA Executive Committee has forcefully condemned the widespread current practice of forging or misusing passports to enable footballers to play in other countries, particularly in those of the European Union.

Meeting in Zurich under the chairmanship of the FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter, the Executive heard that the abuse of passports is most prevalent in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Holland. The Committee called upon national associations to act quickly and effectively against clubs and players found guilty of such offences – although it recognised that in many cases, younger players were the innocent victims of unscrupulous intermediaries. Sanctions imposed at national level by national associations for proven offences of this nature would be extended by FIFA worldwide.

The Committee reiterated its view that organisation of the FIFA World Cup should be rotated among the six continental confederations, as approved in principle by last year’s Extraordinary Congress. The Committee agreed that such rotation should start in Africa, but more exact details of the rotation, including the starting date, will be elaborated by the FIFA and Confederation General Secretaries for presentation to the Executive Committee at its next meeting in Buenos Aires on 5/6 July this year.

An initiative to introduce publicity on the playing kit of national teams having so far produced only inconclusive results, it was agreed that this question should be re-studied by the FIFA and confederation General Secretaries, who would report back to the Executive Committee later this year. As for publicity on referees’ shirts, a limited experiment would continue to run in Spain in order to assess the consequences of such an innovation.

The first Women’s Under-19 World Championship will take place in August/September 2002 in Canada, with Ghana a candidate for the second edition in 2004. The Under-17 World Championship was awarded to Finland for 2003 and Peru for 2005, while the United Arab Emirates and Korea Republic have applied to host the World Youth Championship in 2003.

A study presented by FIFA’s legal experts on the situation within the Oceania Football Confederation confirmed that the current Oceania member of the FIFA Executive, Dr. Sahu Khan (Fiji), was to be replaced by Mr. Adrian Wickham (Solomon Islands), who had been elected to this position by an Extraordinary Congress of the Confederation last December. Dr. Sahu Khan’s mandate expired with that of his predecessor, Charles Dempsey, who stepped down last year.

The meeting concluded with a presentation of the FIFA Order of Merit to the President of the International Olympic Committee, Juan-Antonio Samaranch, who retires from office this year, in recognition of his close support for football in the Olympic Movement.

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