FIFA Fines Italy Netherlands France For Leniency With Dopers

ZURICH Switzerland - By Associated Press - Soccer's governing body Wednesday fined Italy the Netherlands and France for being too lenient with doping offenders.

The Italian and Dutch federations were fined $8000 while the French will pay $11500 for failing to abide by FIFA's minimum rules -- a six-month suspension plus a fine -- for punishing drug infractions.

The three associations were warned that if they continue to inadequately punish such offenses FIFA will impose harsher sanctions.

FIFA initiated proceedings against the three associations Sept. 16 and had given them until Sept. 24 to explain their position. Italy and the Netherlands did so but France did not.

FIFA also unanimously approved a code of ethics which includes issues such as discrimination conduct bribery gift acceptance payment for mediation and sanctions.

"It is important for FIFA Siegler said. "There is a lot of money in football people might be tempted. There are a lot of dangers and it's important to outline what is ethical and what is not."

In seeking to provide more rest time for players before the next World Cup FIFA expects to ratify in December a proposal that all national associations conclude their domestic league and cup schedules by May 14 2006. That would ensure an eight-day rest period for players followed by a 17-day training period ahead of the June 9 start of the World Cup in Germany.

FIFA increased the bonuses for the 32 finalists at the 2006 World Cup to $263 million from the $190 million in 2002 an increase of 38 percent; and ruled that confederation champions from Europe and South America are no longer obligated to take part in the Confederations Cup.

In addition after the 2007 Women's World Cup the men's and women's World Cups will be played in the same year starting with 2010. The move was designed to give a two-year interval between the Olympics and Women's World Cup -- currently there is a one-year gap.