By Gary Anderson

July 22 - fifa congressssssPalestine head the list of National Associations that have declared an interest in hosting the upcoming FIFA Congresses in 2016 and 2017.

FIFA's 209 member associations were invited to submit a declaration of interest by the end of June 2013 and a total of 17 National Associations have indicated that they would be interested in hosting the Congresses with seven indicating interest for both 2016 and 2017.

Costa Rica, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have declared an interest for both years.

They are joined by Greece, Jamaica, Jordan, South Korea, Mexico, Panama and Uzbekistan for the 2016 Congress and the Czech Republic, Finland and Palestine for the 2017 Congress.

Following the presentation of formal bids from each country, the decision on who will host the two Congresses is expected to be made at the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in December 2013.

The opening ceremony of the 2013 FIFA Congress in MauritiasThe opening ceremony of the 2013 FIFA Congress in Mauritias

The first FIFA Congress took place in Paris in 1904 and held on a biennial basis from 1934 onwards.

Since the 1998 Congress in Paris - where current FIFA President Sepp Blatter (pictured top) was first elected - it has been held annually and is seen as "football's parliament".

The Congress makes decisions relating to FIFA's governing statutes and the method by which they are implemented and applied and is attended by each of the national associations who all have one vote each.

It also approves the annual report, decides on the acceptance of new national associations and holds elections, including that of FIFA President.

The 2013 FIFA Congress took place in Mauritius in May and Sao Paulo in Brazil will host next year's gathering to coincide with the FIFA 2014 World Cup, while the 2015 Congress that will include Presidential elections, is due to be held at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

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