Kolkata, Oct 26 (IANS) The fifth FIFA council meeting, to be held in the city later on Friday, could give a clearer picture on the use of the video assistant referee (VAR) technology in next year’s World Cup in Russia, ratify Pakistan’s suspension and take up discussions on a longstanding Israel-Palestine football stand-off.
The 37-member council, headed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, will be held at a plush hotel here a day ahead of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup final between England and Spain at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan.
An update on VAR implementation is one of the 15 points listed on the agenda of the high-profile meeting, which the country will be hosting for the first time, like the U-17 World Cup.
Infantino, on his second visit to India since taking over the reins from Sepp Blatter, is a staunch supporter of the VAR and wants to have the technology at next summer’s World Cup.
Recently, in the wake of Panama’s 2-1 win over Costa Rica in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, Infantino again raised his voice in support of implementing VAR.
Panama helped eliminate the United States from a place in Russia next summer after being awarded a goal despite the ball appearing to not cross the goal line in the 53rd minute.
The result, coupled with the US’s 1-2 loss to Trinidad and Tobago, meant Panama qualified ahead of the Americans, who thus missed out on a World Cup appearance for the first time since 1986.
“When you play a World Cup qualification game and that game is decided by a major error of interpretation by the referee, which can happen because they’re human beings like everyone else, then it is time to rectify things,” Infantino had said.
Among the other topics on the agenda, an update on the bidding process to select the host(s) of the 2026 FIFA World Cup is also there.
Following the approval of the bidding requirements by the FIFA Council on May 9, the FIFA Congress agreed, with 93 percent of the valid votes, on a three-month period — until August 11, 2017 — for member associations from CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and the OFC to express their interest in hosting the tournament.
The decision on whether to select any of the bidders as the host(s) of the World Cup will be taken by the 68th FIFA Congress, slated to convene in Moscow on June 13 next year, on the eve of the opening match of the FIFA World Cup.
The prize money for Russia 2018 is also expected to be decided in the meeting.
The suspension of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) will also be ratified among the other five ratifications listed under “Bureau of the Council” section.
The FIFA had suspended the PFF in accordance with the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council dated October 10 on account of undue 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.
The council would also deliberate on the report of Tokyo Sexwale led monitoring committee that was appointed by former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter to resolve the soccer stand-off between Israel and Paliestine.
Palestine Football Association has for long been objecting to clubs in Israel’s controversial settlements – Occupied Territories of Palestine which are considered illegal by the United Nations – taking part in the Jewish nation’s league system.
The PFA has contended that participation in Israeli tournaments of clubs from its own territory was a violation of FIFA statutes.
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.
The matter tops the list of miscellaneous business on the agenda.
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