Editorial deadline for this issue: 27 September, 1996


Joseph S. Blatter, General Secretary, FIFA With the end of the European summer and the re-start of the continental football season has come also a new round of meetings and visits with the organisers of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, coinciding of course with the kick-off to most of the qualifying matches for the last World Cup of the century.

The decision at the end of May to award the 2002 World Cup to Japan and South Korea and the media attention that historic decision attracted - plus the fact that some prominent candidates have also announced their interest in hosting the 2006 finals - had tended to put France 98 somewhat in the shade.

That was certainly never FIFA's intention. On the contrary, our primary obligation is with those organising the next World Cup, as is only natural in such a four-year cycle.

In the meantime, the French Organising Committee led by its co-chairmen, Fernand Sastre and Michel Platini, together with Managing Director Jacques Lambert has been quietly and efficiently pushing ahead with preparations for the big event in less than two years' time. Spectacular developments like the erection of the first section of the roof of the magnificent new Stade de France in St-Denis near Paris inevitably capture headlines, as indeed they should. But while it is true that most of the work is less media-grabbing, it is no less important.

Meetings on a variety of issues - stadium construction, training grounds, security, television coverage, media facilities, ticketing, hotels, to name but some - have proven that the Paris-based CFO and its subsidiaries in the venues around the country are all well on schedule. And the excitement is beginning to rise.

All the more reason, therefore, to ensure that France 98 enjoys the centre of the World Cup stage for the next couple of years. Preliminary talks for 2002 will of course continue, and the time will come when the first World Cup of the next century will have the leading role.

But right now, the spotlight is on France..

Joseph S. Blatter
FIFA General Secretary

Return to Table of Contents [TOC]


Nomination forms for the 1997 international match officials were sent to the national associations with circular letter no. 596 on 5 September. The associations may propose male and female candidates for three lists, namely the men's and women's lists of referees and assistant referees as well as the futsal branch of football.

The following conditions apply to the men's lists of referees and assistant referees:

A maximum of ten referees and ten assistant referees (or none at all) may be proposed;

As for the women's list of match officials, FIFA has stipulated the following conditions:

A maximum of four referees and four assistant referees (or none at all) may be proposed.

For the futsal branch of football, a maximum of four referees (or none at all) may be proposed. The nominees must comply with the following conditions:

National associations were requested to return the nomination forms and other relevant papers (such as marks awarded etc.) to FIFA by 30 October. The FIFA Referees' Committee will decide which of the proposed referees and assistants will be selected for the 1997 lists. The associations will be notified which nominees have been accepted towards the end of this year and the complete lists will be published at the beginning of 1997.

Return to Table of Contents [TOC]


The illustrious circle of celebrities who have been awarded the FIFA Order of Merit has expanded. The singer, musician, composer and entertainer, Udo Jürgens, is the first show business personality to receive this distinction from FIFA in recognition of his active charity work (including his commitment to SOS Children's Villages) and his love for football. The Austrian-born singer has frequently bridged the gap between culture and football with such smash hits as "Sempre Roma" and "Buenos días Argentina".

The ceremony was held in the SOS Children's Village in Moosburg, Kärnten near Klagenfurt, Austria on 28 September. Apart from Dr Leopold Graf Goëss, the host and chairman of the Kärnten SOS Children's Village Society, FIFA General Secretary Joseph S. Blatter was also there in person, as were the Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, Franz Beckenbauer and many other celebrities.

Return to Table of Contents [TOC]


TThe evaluation of the disciplinary statistics for the Olympic Football Tournaments revealed that the women went about their business more fairly than their male counterparts. In the 16 matches of the women's tournament, the referees waved the yellow card 28 times (an average of 1.75 per match) and the red card only three times and once after two cautions in the same match. The men, for their part, saw yellow 87 times (an average of 2.72), red three times and yellow-red six times in a total of 32 matches.

The cautions will be cancelled in accordance with the Disciplinary Measures. On the other hand, expulsions meted out during the Olympic Games will have an effect on World Cup preliminary competition appearances or the next official competition of the confederation concerned, whichever are sooner (cf. Disciplinary Measures France '98).

Return to Table of Contents [TOC]


The futsal fiesta can begin! On 27 September the groups for the final competition of the 3rd FIFA Futsal World Championship were drawn by lot in the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.

Sixteen teams, split into four groups of four, will compete in the world championship in Spain from 24 November to 8 December 1996. Apart from defending champions Brazil and the hosts, Spain, the following teams have also qualified: China, Iran, Malaysia, Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Russia, the Ukraine, the USA and Cuba. Only the African representative has yet to be decided.

Group A (Murcia):
Group B (Murcia):
Group C (Segovia):
Group D (Segovia):
Spain, Australia, Ukraine, Africa
Russia, China, Argentina, Netherlands
USA, Malaysia, Italy, Uruguay
Brazil, Iran, Cuba, Belgium
The outcome of the draw was as follows

The match schedule has been arranged so that two groups will contest the first round in each town of Murcia and Segovia. The teams that come first and second in each group will be split into another two groups and go on to contest the next round in Castellon de la Plana before the four best teams advance to the semifinals and finals in Barcelona. The complete fixture list will appear in the November edition of the News. In the meantime, these details and other background information on the world championship in Spain are available on FIFA ON-LINE.

Brazil are the hottest favourites, having won the first world championship in the Netherlands in 1989 by beating the hosts 2-1 and defended their title successfully in Hong Kong in 1992 with a 4-1 victory over the USA. Most of the players are indoor football specialists playing in their own leagues organised by their respective national associations.

The futsal referees are also experts. From among a total of 104 match officials featured on the current international list, the FIFA Referees' Committee has designated sixteen referees to Spain '96 (see the list below), who will officiate either as main or assistant referee. They will be helped by timekeepers who will make sure that the full 20 minutes are actually played in each half.

In accordance with the Laws of the Game, there will not be any rebound boards around the pitch but only goal lines and touchlines. Some of the other rules for this type of football allow each team a one-minute time-out in each half as well as "flying" substitutions, limited time punishments and incur harsher sanctions for accumulated fouls.

GAUTIER, Perry Belgium
VAN DEN BEKEROM, Martinus Netherlands
GALAN NIETO, Pedro Spain
HERZOG, Antonin Czech Republic
MEZO, Bela Hungary
LI, Zhizhong China PR
HAJI YAAKUB, Nik Ahmad Malaysia
SCIANCALEPORE, Juan Carlos Argentina
DAS DORES, José Carlos Brazil
SEPULVEDA MALIG, Pedro Osvaldo Chile
CABALLERO VEGA, Jorge Paraguay
SALL, Demba Senegal
LINARES CAMPOS, Olger Costa Rica
TAMPLIN, Adrian Australia
Match officials for España '96:

Media representatives who would like to be accredited for reporting on the Futsal World Championship are requested top apply to the local organising committee in Spain, enclosing two passport photographs with their application:

COL Campeonato Mundial de Fútbol Sala - España '96
c/o Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF)
Calle Alberto Bosch 13
Apartado Postal 347
E-28014 Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34 (1) 420 1362
Telefax: +34 (1) 420 2094

Return to Table of Contents [TOC]


Return to Table of Contents [TOC]


France and LOC France '98 intend to put their stadia and infrastructure to the test for the first time in summer 1997 by holding a kind of "Tournoi de France". With world champions Brazil, Italy, England and the hosts, the four-country tournament will hold a great deal of attraction. The four squads will be contesting a round-robin tournament in Lyons (two matches), Nantes, Lens, Montpellier and in the Parc des Princes in Paris from 3 to 11 June.

Return to Table of Contents [TOC]




FIFA Home Page | FIFA Magazine

Copyright © 1996 Fédération Internationale de Football Association. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1996 En-Linea, Inc. All rights reserved.