FIFA's new committee will address lingering problems

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BERNE, Switzerland, Oct 3 (Reuters) Third-party ownership of transfer rights, club ownership regulations and rows over club versus country will be up for discussion when FIFA's new Strategic Committee holds its first meeting next week.

The new body will discuss a wide range of thorny issues including who should pay for players' insurance while they are on international duty, according to an agenda released by world soccer's governing body today.

Chaired by UEFA president Michel Platini, Tuesday's meeting will also consider possible restrictions on football being played at extreme altitude and on clubs who attempt to sell or transfer their league places to other clubs.

The latter scenario was brought starkly to FIFA's attention in August when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled against the Spanish Football Federation's attempt to block third-division club Granada 74 effectively buying out second-division side Ciudad Murcia.

Today's media release said the committee would ''consider the issue of third-party ownership of players as well as requirements relating to club ownership that endeavour to ensure more transparency in terms of stakeholdings, finances and corporate governance.'' International discrepancies over third-party ownership rules were highlighted by the row in England over the controversial status of former West Ham United striker Carlos Tevez.

West Ham, who have since sold Tevez to Premier League rivals Manchester United, were fined 11.22 million dollars in April after breaching league rules outlawing third-party deals.

FIFA has not yet taken an official stance on third-party ownership and said it was unable to mediate in the Tevez affair when the issue later threatened to derail his move to United.

The discussions over football played in extreme conditions will be followed closely in South America where FIFA faced strong criticism over a short-lived ban on soccer at high altitude.

In May, FIFA's executive committee outlawed international matches at more than 2,500 metres above sea level but reconsidered the ban following protests from several Andean nations including Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

FIFA first raised the limit to 3,000 metres and then issued a further exemption for the Bolivian capital La Paz, situated at 3,600 metres, after a meeting between Bolivian president Evo Morales and FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

FIFA's Strategic Committee was formed to follow up on three task forces commissioned in 2005 to look at financial, political and competition matters.

The new committee will make recommendations to FIFA's executive committee which is due to meet at the end of October.

REUTERS BJR KP2033

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