Europe's leading football clubs welcomed a "major breakthrough" with UEFA on Tuesday after
agreeing a new accord with European football's governing body over
the international calendar, insurance for injured players and
European Clubs Association (ECA) chairman Karl-Heinz
Rummenigge, in an address to its general assembly in the Polish
capital, announced the ECA and UEFA had agreed that the
unpopular pre-season August friendly date should be scrapped.
UEFA insurance is also due to cover players injured on
However, he warned that FIFA had yet to sanction the
proposals and provoked a response from the world governing body
after criticising the way the organisation had behaved.
"It is not our will to go against FIFA," Rummenigge told a
news conference. "But our request for transparency and democracy
has to be accepted."
FIFA said it was surprised by recent developments at ECA,
saying the association had hindered progress on the
international calendar because its members had declined to
attend FIFA committee meetings.
FIFA has invited the ECA and other world football
stakeholders to a meeting on March 5 in Zurich to discuss the
calendar from 2015 onwards, but both Rummenigge and ECA general
secretary Michele Centenaro have opted not to attend.
However, the mood from the ECA was extremely positive with
Rummenigge telling reporters after the assembly, attended by 123
of their 201 member clubs: "We reached a fair and good agreement
within the European football family."
Under the new agreement with UEFA over the use of their
players by national teams, European clubs will share a
"substantially increased" sum over and above the 55 million
euros previously agreed for Euro 2012.
There will be "a further increase" for the Euro 2016 finals
in France, with the new amounts for both tournaments to be
announced at the UEFA Congress in Istanbul next month.
UEFA also said it will cover players injured on
international duty starting with this June's Euros in Poland and
"This insurance is valid for all players registered with a
European club, irrespective of their nationality, and for all
matches mentioned in the international calendar, including both
official and friendly matches," an ECA statement added.
Major changes have also been agreed, subject to FIFA's
approval, to the international calendar.
The ECA originally proposed six double-header dates for a
two-year tournament qualification cycle, but a "compromise
solution" of nine double-headers starting in 2015 was acceptable
to both UEFA and the ECA.
There will be no single dates for friendlies with the
unpopular August friendly dropped from the calendar, probably
If FIFA agrees, there will also be no more than one
international tournament per player per year, final tournaments
of all confederations will end by mid-July and the Africa Cup of
Nations will start as soon as possible in January.
Rummenigge added: "The agreement with UEFA is a major
breakthrough for European club football.
"With this agreement, UEFA clearly recognises the importance
of clubs and the significant contribution they make to the
success of national team football.
"This is once more a proof that in the European football
family solutions can be found in a co-operative and fair way.
"I sincerely thank UEFA, in particular UEFA President [Michel] Platini, on behalf of all European clubs and look
forward to our continued co-operation."
The German said problems remained with FIFA, adding:
"Unfortunately, discussions with the FIFA president have failed
to lead to a satisfactory outcome which takes account of the
In a statement, world football's governing body said: "FIFA is
surprised by recent comments made by ECA stating that they are
not satisfied with their discussions with football's world
governing body regarding topics of interest to the European
clubs, including the international match calendar.
"ECA representatives are in fact members of several FIFA
committees and are always invited to take part in the
discussions on such topics, together with representatives from
clubs of other confederations.
"Finally, FIFA would like to recall that the international
dates and the international match calendar have to be applied on
a worldwide basis and that this calendar is ultimately regulated
by FIFA, as football's world governing body."
The new Memorandum of Understanding, as the ECA and UEFA
have named it, starts on June 1 and runs until May 30 2018 and
also includes a new clause allowing clubs a "referral right" on
all decisions affecting club football.
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