Tradition is a great thing. The International FA Board, founded in 1886, is a very important part of the football scene and continues to act responsibly and wisely as the guardian of the Laws of the Game. Yet if you were to decide today to set up a body to control the Laws of football worldwide you would not create the IFAB. But it works!

When FIFA was founded in 1904, the founder seven members were all European since that was where football was developing at that time. The languages of FIFA therefore were the four main European languages – English, French, German and Spanish.

My experience in Asia has emphasised the importance of communicating in the local languages. AFC now prepares teaching material for referees in the six main Asian languages – Arabic, Hindi. Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Russian, as well as English.

I believe that, as we now enter the second decade of the 21st century, FIFA must consider increasing the number of official languages it uses.

Today German speakers are very limited but Arabic is spoken in a large number of member associations. Similarly, considering the size and population of China, Mandarin and Cantonese must be considered major world languages as should Russian.

I appreciate that an Arabic version of the FIFA website is now available and this is a big step forward and the inclusion of Mandarin, Cantonese and Russian this would extend the concept even further.

I believe that consideration should given, as a development project by FIFA, to recognise the main Asian languages as official FIFA languages. English will always remain the definitive language for the Laws of the Game but FIFA should consider widening its language base.

Europe, South America, Central America. Oceania and Africa are mostly covered by the present four official FIFA languages but Asia would greatly benefit from the addition of Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese and Russian language versions of the Laws of the Game and new FIFA teaching materials to aid the development of football.

 FIFA must always think ahead – it has always been multicultural – it must now be multi-lingual!

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