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Thursday, 29 July 2021

Europe’s top clubs reach agreement with UEFA

Leading European football teams reach deal with UEFA granting them larger share of European Championship profits and insurance payouts for injured players

AP, Tuesday 28 Feb 2012

Europe’s top football clubs have reached a new cooperation agreement with UEFA to give them a bigger share of European Championship profits and insure salaries for players injured on international duty.

The European Club Association said on Tuesday that the renewed accord runs through May 2018, but “unsatisfactory” talks with FIFA were locked in stalemate.

ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge announced the "major breakthrough" with UEFA at a meeting of the 200-club group in Warsaw, Poland.

"The negotiations have not always proved easy, but were always conducted in a fair and respectful manner," Rummenigge said in a statement, praising UEFA President Michel Platini. "Unfortunately, discussions with the FIFA president have failed to lead to a satisfactory outcome which takes account of the clubs’ demands."

The ECA was created in 2008 to give clubs a more democratic voice in talks with UEFA and FIFA after years of hostile relations when elite clubs were represented by the G-14 group.

However, talks to renew the ECA’s initial working agreements have exposed problems between Rummenigge and FIFA President Sepp Blatter over insurance policies and the number of fixtures on the FIFA-approved international calendar, when clubs are obliged to release their players to national teams.

The ECA has focused more on relations with UEFA and Platini, who is the favourite to succeed Blatter at FIFA in 2015.

European clubs will share a "substantially increased" sum on the 55 million euros ($74 million) previously agreed from Euro 2012 profits, which is distributed on a daily rate for as long as players are involved in the tournament co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

"This amount will be substantially increased in time for this year’s Euro with a further increase for the UEFA Euro 2016 in France," the clubs said. The exact increase will be announced at the UEFA Congress held on 22 March in Istanbul.

Before Euro 2012, UEFA will fund "insurance covering the injury risk of players" who European clubs release to play for any national team.

"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,” the ECA said.

The issue of insurance was highlighted after Rummenigge’s club Bayern Munich lost Netherlands winger Arjen Robben for six months when he returned injured from the 2010 World Cup.

Under the new agreement, UEFA has agreed that "no decision relating to club football will be taken without the consent of the clubs."

This point was necessary to remove the threat of clubs refusing to play in UEFA’s marquee Champions League, or set up a rival competition.

"This is once more a proof that, in the European football family, solutions can be found in a cooperative and fair way," Rummenigge said.

Rummenigge and ECA General Secretary Michele Centenaro have refused FIFA’s invitations to attend international calendar talks in Zurich next Monday.

Still, the clubs have had input through UEFA to the debate involving all six of FIFA’s continental confederations.

European football would accept nine doubleheader international match dates in each two-year tournament qualifying cycle, and wants friendly dates in February and August abolished.

The ECA said on Tuesday it wants to restrict players to one international tournament each year, which could limit call-ups to the London Olympics.

Europe also wants the Copa America played earlier in July, and the Africa Cup of Nations to start earlier in January so that players return sooner to their clubs.

FIFA said its calendar working group could present a proposal for international match dates running from 2015 through 2018 or 2022 to Blatter’s executive committee which meets on 29-30 March in Zurich.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter: @AO_Sports)

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