A host of issues, including an update on the implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology and ratification of Pakistan’s suspension will come up for discussion before the FIFA Council Meeting.
The bidding process for 2026 World Cup and discussions on the vexed issue of Israel-Palestine football stand-off will also be discussed.
A 37-member FIFA Council meets just a day before the summit clash of the FIFA U-17 World Cup between Spain and England. This is the first time the FIFA Council is meeting outside of its headquarters at Zurich during a FIFA U-17 World Cup.
A run through of the agenda of the meeting has ‘Update on VAR implementation’ as one of the itmes in the agenda. FIFA chief Gianni Infantino, on his second official visit to India since taking over the reins from Sepp Blatter, is a supporter of the VAR and wants to have the technology in next yeaR’S World Cup in Russia.
The video assistant referee (VAR) is an assistant referee that reviews decisions made by the head referee with the use of video footage and a headset for communication.
VARs are not currently part of the Laws of the Game, but their use is currently being trialled by the International Football Association Board in a number of different competitions, including in Major League Soccer, A-League and Bundesliga.
The council is also expected to ratify the decision taken on October 10 by Bureau of FIFA council to suspend Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) for third party interference.
The Bureau took this decision as the PFF offices and its accounts remain in control of a court-appointed administrator, which constitutes a violation of the PFF obligations to manage its affairs independently and without influence from any third parties in accordance with the FIFA Statutes.
Another tricky issue to be taken up tomorrow will be the issue of the stand-off between Israel and Palestine.
The council is expected to deliberate on the report of Tokyo Sexwale-led monitoring committee that was appointed by former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter to resolve the stand-off between Israel and Palestine.
Palestine Football Association has for long been objecting to clubs from West Bank taking part in Israel’s domestic league.
The PFA has contended that participation in Israeli tournaments of clubs from its own territory was a violation of FIFA statutes.
In March, the FIFA committee had threatened to suspend Israel from all international competitions if it continues to allow teams from settlements in the West Bank to play in the national league.
The matter was scheduled to be taken up in the FIFA Congress in May, but Infantino got it dropped from the agenda with a promise that the council meeting in Kolkata would decide the issue.
Other points in the agenda include slot allocation for the Olympic football tournaments in Tokyo 2020, strategy for FIFA youth, women’s and club tournaments, update on 2026 World Cup bidding process, Prize money for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel will address the FIFA Council as host country special invitee and he will present his case for India’s bid of the 2019 U-20 World Cup on the strength of the successful hosting of the U-17 World Cup.
Patel also will express India’s desire and capability to host the the FIFA Club World Cup in 2020 and 2021.