Priorities for the FIFA World Cup : Attacking Football and Fair Play

Zürich, 7 March 2002 - The 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan(TM) should be full of attacking football and fair play.

The FIFA Football Committee, meeting in Zurich under vice-chairman Amadou Diakite, unanimously supported the simple definition of the competition’s main priorities as put forward by former player and now president of the Yugoslav Football Association, Dragan Stojkovic.

“We need more responsibility and more respect for the ideas of fair play,” Stojkovic told the meeting, “ and the coaches are especially important in achieving this. It’s so important that the World Cup is a real spectacle for the fans.”

Another member, Liberia’s George Weah, agreed that the coaches hold the key to producing what he called “a beautiful World Cup”.

Various members of the Committee had their own ideas about ways to brighten the game, not just during the World Cup :

  • Pelé called for the defensive wall to be scrapped. “It’s not fair that when a player is going through and has only one player to beat but then is fouled, the free-kick faces not just one defender but half a dozen,” said Pelé, who also spoke in favour of the kick-in to replace the throw-in (an idea already unsuccessfully experimented by FIFA).
  • Pelé also suggested that an offending player should be obliged to leave the field of play as long as it takes to give medical treatment to the injured opponent whom he has just fouled.
  • Sir Bobby Charlton appealed for an end to diving by players trying to deceive the referee, and suggested a video review panel should scrutinise such incidents the next day without in any way changing the referee’s on-the-spot decisions.
  • Michel Platini said that a defender should be sanctioned when he deliberately steps into his own penalty area to play the ball from his own team’s goal-kick, instead of the kick merely being repeated as at present. Platini also put forward the idea of an assistant referee placed behind each goal to judge controversial goal-line incidents.
  • Former Italian referee Paolo Casarin called for today’s referees to be tougher on defenders in goalmouth incidents especially from corner-kicks.
  • Former Mexican international Hugo Sanchez said referees should add on more time for the stoppages during the game.
During a presentation to the meeting on sports medical matters, FIFA’s Chief Medical Officer for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Dr. Jiri Dvorak, revealed a document that had been spontaneously created and signed by the team doctors of all 32 World Cup finalist teams, pledging them to abide by FIFA’s medical regulations and especially with regard to doping.


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FIFA Communications Division
Zürich, 7 March 2002