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Artificial playing surfaces permitted from July 1


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Artificial playing surfaces officially permitted from 1 July

Zurich, 30 June 2004 - As of Thursday, 1 July 2004, matches may be played on natural or artificial surfaces if permitted by the applicable competition regulations, This amendment to the Laws of the Game was approved by the International F.A. Board (IFAB), the custodians of football's laws, at its 118th Annual General Meeting, held in London on 28 February 2004.

The IFAB also decided that the artificial surface must meet the requisite quality standards (i.e. the FIFA Quality Concept for Artificial Turf or the International Artificial Turf Standard).

Meeting under the chairmanship of FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, the IFAB also decided that teams should not be permitted to make more than six substitutions during friendly matches (Law 3). With regard to the method for determining the winner of a match, the IFAB also decided to revert to playing the full period of extra time, consisting of two periods of no more than 15 minutes, with kicks from the penalty mark deciding a match that is still level after extra time. As a result, matches played in accordance with the knockout system will no longer be decided by "golden goal" or "silver goal".

With regard to Law 12 and its interpretation, the IFAB ruled that any player who removes his jersey after scoring a goal would be cautioned for unsporting behaviour. FIFA has already sent a circular to the member associations to give further explanations of this matter. These guidelines may be down

loaded from www.FIFA.com.

Welcoming the amendment, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said, "Integrating the artificial turf surface into the Laws of the Game is the most important amendment this year and is a milestone in the history of football. Millions of players around the world will benefit from this decision, as it will allow them to play their favourite sport on a more regular basis, irrespective of the weather."

The new Laws of the Game come into force worldwide on 1 July 2004. However, these amendments will not apply to competitions that are already underway. Consequently, EURO 2004 in Portugal will still use the previous version of the Laws of the Game, including the provision for a "silver goal" to decide the winner of the semi-finals as well as the final in Lisbon on 4 July.

Enquiries to be addressed to:

FIFA Media Office

Tel: +41-43/222 72 72

Fax: +41-43/222 73 73

FIFA Communications Division

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The Emperor Bladder is, as usual, wearing no clothes!!!!Sorry to be the illusion-breaking little boy watching the parade with the nerve to speak up.

This is old news. It was as a result of the general decisions of the IFAB on the Laws of the Game on February 28. At that time, they rejected the FIFA proposed law that approved artificial pitches generaly are acceptable. Now they are now only acceptable if the competition regulations allow for it and if the turf is approved. The staus quo never changed. All it did was say that if matches on artificial surfaces are allowed in Competition regualtions, they now have to be on FIFA-approved surfaces. If anything, it made it tougher. It mmeans that matches on non-aproved surfaces, such as A-League matches at McMahon Stadium are now technically illegal under the universal Laws, where they were legal before! Blatter's grand non-pronouncements then, and now, are a way to soften the disappointment of not getting the approval he wanted. Does "Mission Accomplished" sound familiar?

The non-importance of the decision was shown when Saprissa, Costa Rica, was rejected as a WCQ site in late May, BECAUSE they had a

FIFA-approved FieldTurf installation installed on the false promise of FIFA that it would be acceptable for all international matches. It was also on the basis of this false promise that Pipe assured us on Soccer Central in early February that it was "a guarantee" that two of the semi WCQ's would be played at Lansdowne Park and Molson Stadium!

Practically, no way the National men's team will ever play on artificial turf, except in unusual circumstances. It will never be approved for any WCQ's (except for places like Dominica which may not have any other choices), and the players don't want anything to do with the stuff. If there is a future competition in countries that only have artifcial turf, there is the chance they may have a practice firendly on one tho'.

-The Natural Grass Dinosaur on the Grassy Knoll

Happy Canada Day to all!

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Both Hamilton and London don't have the surfaces to support a FIFA sanctioned game. London's stadium uses Astroturf, while the Hamilton one is not FIFA approved.

And it remains to be seen if players will actually like playing on these new artificial surfaces.

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The regulations for the 2006 World Cup state that FIFA-approved artificial turf can only be used for World Cup matches if there is no suitable natural turf alternative available in the country. Since Canada has a few suitable natural turf surfaces (Edmonton, Kingston, Burnaby), we will regrettably still not be having any WCQ matches in Ottawa or Montreal this time around.

Hopefully they will change the tournament regulations for the 2010 World Cup to allow FIFA-approved artificial surfaces to be used without restriction. Until then, keep saving up your air miles!

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If Ottawa and Montreal really want WCQ matches, then they'll have to do something about it (ie, get grass), rather than waiting for some kind of loophole that allows them to use turf - even though none of the players themselves want anything to do with it.

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