Troubled football body to discuss thorny issues

The snow-covered landscape is reflected in a logo in front of FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, January 10, 2017.
The snow-covered landscape is reflected in a logo in front of FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/Files

The FIFA gathering, due to start in Bahrain’s capital Manama on May 11, is overshadowed by the resignation from the FIFA council of powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, who is facing corruption allegations in the US.


Issues on FIFA's agenda this week could prove contentious.

Item 16 is a proposal to look at how FIFA allocates its most prestigious tournament, the World Cup.

Under current rules, the event cannot be staged in the same region more than once every 12 years.

However, any change to this policy could allow football's emerging power, China, to make a bid for the 2030 tournament, just eight years after its Asian Football Confederation [AFC] colleague, Qatar, controversially hosts the 2022 World Cup.

Any such move is likely to be challenged by Argentina and Uruguay which wants to jointly host the tournament in 17 years' time to mark the centenary of the very first World Cup, played in Montevideo.

Another contentious issue is that of Israel and Palestine.

The Palestine Football Association argues that the presence of six Israeli clubs on its territory is in breach of FIFA statutes, which forbids another member association playing on another territory without permission.

Israel argues that FIFA rules are unenforceable as there is no permanent border.

But even before the FIFA Congress convenes, there could be controversy in Manama.

On May 8, in the same venue, the AFC will hold its rescheduled congress to finally elect its FIFA Council members.

This vote has been delayed since last September when the AFC took just 27 minutes to abandon their extraordinary congress in Goa.

The meeting was abruptly cancelled after Saoud Al-Mohannadi, Qatar Football Association's vice-president, was stopped at the very last minute from standing for election for the FIFA council.

He was then banned from football for a year after being accused of not co-operating with a FIFA corruption enquiry.

Another item for the AFC to decide is whether or not to agree to Iraq's request to end the international ban on hosting football matches.

with AFP

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