GENEVA - European clubs want the number of
dates for international fixtures cut to six a year from 2014 and
are hopeful FIFA and UEFA will listen to their request.
The European Club Association (ECA), which represents 201 of
the continent's biggest clubs, has also demanded a greater say
in future decisions and repeated its call to football's governing
body FIFA for more transparency.
"I believe that we are the most important stakeholder in
football," ECA president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told reporters
after the association's general assembly on Tuesday.
"Without our players, our employees, paid exclusively by the
clubs, you cannot run the business, that is something all
federations have to recognise.
"Everybody believes it is time that governing bodies
recognise that clubs have to be included in the decision-making
The former West Germany forward added: "Everything regarding
the calendar has been tailor-made in favour of the national
teams, I believe is to time to re-find the balance between the
interest of the national teams and the clubs."
The ECA proposed an ideal number of 12 international dates,
not including competitions such as the World Cup and Euro 2012
and the pre-tournament friendlies, after the current
international calendar ends in 2014.
"In an ideal world we would be talking about six double
dates over a two-year period which is a reduction but still
gives the right balance between the requirements of the national
team and what the clubs want," said Manchester United chief
executive David Gill, an ECA board member.
Rummenigge added: "That would be ideal from the clubs' point
of view. You have the possibility to release the players two
weeks before the Euro, then there is space for two or three
The current calendar allows for 19 international dates
between the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, not including pre-Euro
Rummenigge said in 2004 the clubs had agreed to reduce the
number of Champions League dates from 17 to 13 a season by
cutting out the second group stage.
"We have to acknowledge that in the meantime, days released
by the clubs have been completed occupied by national team
dates," he said.
He repeated his description of the August friendlies as a
"nonsense" date and also criticised the double match dates
played this June.
"It has to stop, that we release our players for nonsense
dates. We respect that there are qualifiers, that there are
finals tournaments, but we don't accept any more that there are
nonsense dates still alive."
"We are trying to find the best way for the good of
Rummenigge said he had spoken to both FIFA president Sepp
Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini.
"I have a peaceful atmosphere in myself, we received clear
signs from both presidents, not to be pessimistic," he said.
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