Blatter on World Cup and major FIFA policy issues

FIFA President Joseph S Blatter took questions on topics relating to the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany and other FIFA business as part of an information meeting with more than 40 journalists from around the world.

On the World Cup in Germany: We must pay a huge compliment to the Germans. Everything that has been achieved in Germany: the stadiums, the logistics, the telecommunications, is simply superb. Ticketing will remain a hot topic right up until 9 July. All the tickets will be sold. A short time ago, I had a conversation with Interior Minister Wolfgang Schuble. He said: "We have to consider whether it will be possible to maintain the strict security system right to the end. We have a problem with security and access controls, as we want to avoid bottlenecks."

On betting during the World Cup: Everyone involved at the World Cup will sign a declaration promoting fair play, rejecting racism and doping, and declaring that he and his family members are not in any way whatsoever involved in gambling.

On racist incidents during the World Cup: The Executive Committee has ratified a Disciplinary Code, summarising our policy in a single document, available at A team can be docked three points, or six points for a repeat offence, in the event of racialist incidents on the field. The policy will take effect from 1 July, but it should also apply to the World Cup in Germany. We have to tread extremely carefully in this matter. The spectators won't be assigned to specific areas of the ground at the World Cup, so we can only punish racialist activities which take place on the field of play, i.e. the things we can control, the players and the coaching staff etc.

On social responsibility: 250 million people all over the world are directly involved in football, as players, coaches, referees, and officials. Every single one has four or five family members or friends who accompany them in some way. The worldwide movement that is football thus encompasses more than a billion people, one-sixth of the global population. That means football has a responsibility to society, and we have to take it seriously. That's why FIFA has established a special "Social Responsibility" department. At the Congress in Munich, the Ethics and Fair Play Committee will be re-constituted as the Committee for "Social Responsibility and Fair Play". Ethical matters will be dealt with in a new, independent Ethics Committee. It is a fact that attendances are in decline in Italy and England. Public interest declines if there's too much football on TV. You always hear that FIFA should have a solution ready and create a regulation. We should reduce the number of teams in the professional leagues. The maximum should be 18 clubs. We'll discuss this at Congress. A further problem is that you've hardly got any players from the home country. Young players have no chance of making it in the professional leagues any more, because coaches usually buy players from overseas.

On club ownership in football: This is a difficult topic, which we're examining on an ongoing basis in our "For the Good of the Game" task force. You notice the existence of an international group, based for example in the British Virgin Islands or on Gibraltar, listed as part-owner of a club, and that's difficult. FIFA has a regulation prohibiting multiple ownership of clubs. It's another subject we'll be talking about at Congress.

On the verdict from Charleroi: The G14 was rejected in Charleroi. The 800 million is off the table. The judge threw out the case. In one specific case, the judge referred the decision over releasing the player to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg. That will take another two years. But there is a solution to hand. The most important thing is insurance for the players. The players must be insured for international call-ups by the clubs. The associations need to supervise that. We've established an insurance fund for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, to cover the eventuality of players sustaining serious injuries at the tournament. Clubs will be compensated in such cases.