ZURICH (AP) Despite hastily canceling a news conference scheduled with President Sepp Blatter after the surprise arrival of Swiss federal police at its headquarters, FIFA did make some decisions during its two-day executive committee meeting that ended Friday.
Among the decisions announced through a press release, FIFA said the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be played over 28 days, starting on Monday, Nov. 21, and ending on Sunday, Dec. 18, Qatar’s national holiday.
FIFA had decided in March to switch the 2022 tournament from June-July to avoid Qatar’s summer heat. A 28-day World Cup is four fewer than usual and is designed to cause less disruption to clubs and leagues which must shut down for several peak midseason weeks.
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Here’s a look at other things that took place during FIFA’s executive meeting this week:
FIFA said the next executive meeting will take place in Zurich instead of Japan, a change from what had been originally scheduled.
The Japanese delegation arrived in Zurich expecting to host the meeting during the Club World Cup in December, but FIFA announced Tuesday it needed to reevaluate the date and venue. Japanese football association president Kuniya Daini said a few days ago that he still expected the meeting to be held in Japan, but FIFA decided to keep it at its Swiss headquarters.
Hosting the meeting in Switzerland instead of Japan would significantly diminish the risk of arrests, including of Blatter, amid separate U.S. and Swiss investigations into corruption in world soccer. Football officials have been reluctant to visit countries which have an extradition treaty with the United States, which spearheaded the main investigation earlier this year.
It will be the final executive meeting of the year, and the last before Blatter is scheduled to be replaced on Feb. 26.
FIFA said the executive committee has ”declared its support in principle” to allow the independent ethics committee to publish more information about its proceedings, but said it asked FIFA’s legal committee for a final deliberation ahead of the next executive committee meeting at the end of the year in Zurich.
FIFA said the independent chairmen of the committee’s two chambers, Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely, ”had advocated this change in the interest of transparency and understanding of their work.”
FIFA said the chairman of the reform committee, Francois Carrard, briefed the members on his committee’s work and said that he would submit a set of recommended reform proposals to the executive committee at its meeting in December. FIFA said the executive committee ”welcomed Francois Carrard’s report and reconfirmed its commitment to reforms.”
WOMEN IN FOOTBALL
The governing body said the executive committee vowed to boost female participation in football and ”supported the call made by the FIFA task force for women’s football for greater inclusion and participation of women in football,” which will be referred to the 2016 FIFA reform committee.
FIFA confirmed that there would be no obligation for clubs to release players for the men’s Olympic football tournament in Rio de Janeiro next year, as the event isn’t part of the international match calendar.
”However, FIFA is asking for support from the clubs to allow players who are called up by their national teams to be given the chance to be part of the Olympic experience,” the governing body said.
Brazil’s Neymar is among the top players who have already shown interest in playing in Rio, but his participation will now depend on Barcelona’s willingness to release him.
NO DEL NERO
The organizing committee for the Olympic football tournament met this week in Zurich without its chairman, Brazilian federation president Marco Polo Del Nero, who has not left Brazil since the arrest of FIFA officials in Zurich earlier this year.
The meeting in Zurich had to be chaired by committee vice president Lydia Nsekera of Burundi.
It was the third meeting missed by Del Nero since the FIFA corruption scandal broke. The Brazilian left Switzerland suddenly in May after other officials were arrested in dawn raids on FIFA’s favorite hotel in Zurich, and since then has stayed in his home country to avoid the risk of being arrested.
The Brazilian football federation did not say why Del Nero skipped this week’s meeting. Last time, it said he needed to stay home to deal with ”local matters involving the Brazilian federation.”
FIFA said it will donate $1 million to the United Nations’ refugee agency, calling it ”the most efficient way for FIFA to help” the migrants coming to Europe.