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Home » Sport » Football

Clubs demand fewer international dates

Europe's leading clubs have demanded Fifa end "nonsense" international friendlies, half the number of international dates and grant the clubs a greater say in the game's future.

The European Club Association (ECA), which represents 201 leading clubs, believe that because their members supply the players for the international sides, their interests should be given more consideration. They also believe they deserve a greater share of the profits from the World Cup. Fifa made $3.7bn from the last World Cup of which the clubs received a total of $40m, roughly $100,000 per club.

The ECA wants the current calendar cut to six international dates a year by 2014 when the current memorandum of understanding ends, or 12 over every two-year qualification period, not including finals tournaments. That would effectively mean an end to friendlies or the introduction of smaller qualifying groups. Next year, excluding the Euro 2012 finals, 11 international dates are scheduled.

David Gill, Manchester United's chief executive and a member of the ECA board, said after yesterday's meeting of club officials in Geneva: "It's a reduction but still gives the right balance to the requirements of the national teams and what the clubs want.

The ECA is dominated by nine clubs – United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, the two Milan clubs and Bayern Munich. "I believe that we are the most important stakeholder in football," said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the ECA president and chairman of Bayern. "Without our players, our employees, paid exclusive by the clubs, you cannot run the business. Everybody believes it is time that governing bodies recognise that clubs have to be included in the decision-making process.

"Everything in the international calendar is balanced in favour of national teams.used to have groups of four, now it is six or seven. It has to be stopped that we release players for nonsense dates." Rummenigge denied that the ECA were looking to breakaway from Fifa and Uefa if their demands were not met.


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