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European clubs seek greater role in FIFA decision-making process

Wed 9th Feb 2011 | Football Governance

The European Clubs Association (ECA) has expressed its concerns over the way FIFA handles its decision making of the world game.

Following recent discussions and speculation relating to possible significant changes to the international calendar, such as a “Winter” World Cup, the European Club Association (ECA) expressed its concern on the way matters of such importance are managed by football’s world governing body and underlined their opposition to such a disruption.

The ECA primarily questions the way FIFA reaches decisions heavily affecting club football without the involvement of the stakeholders concerned and believes that modern football needs democracy, transparency and certainty of rules.

In a statement released yesterday the ECA said it is ‘supportive of national team football but also believes that player’s exhaustion through an excessive number of games must be addressed as a top priority.

They are worried that at present, following a long and exhausting World Cup tournament, national team players are being called up again at the start of their preparation for the new season to play friendly matches with their national team purely for commercial reasons.

In October 2010, the ECAfound out via a FIFA Circular Letter, that the FIFA Executive Committee had decided to add 8 dates (from 38 to 46, plus 20%) over the 2011-2014 period to the international match calendar without any precise reason and without any consultation with the key stakeholders concerned, namely the European clubs. As a result, ECA is not prepared to accept the way this decision was reached.

Looking forward, the ECA has proposed some new basic principles that they would like to see form part of the future international calendar:

  • Certainty of rules that cannot be changed in the course of the cycle.
  • A maximum of one international tournament per player per year to address the concerns we have relating to player’s exhaustion.
  • National team ‘periods’ as opposed to national team dates for official or friendly games
  • A period of at least 7 weeks without any national team activity following major international tournaments like the World Cup or the Confederation Tournaments.
  • The determination of ‘fixed slots’ for the major confederation and international national team tournaments.

 

Commenting on the discussions during the General Assembly, ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stated: “The time for monopolies is over. Football needs democracy and transparency. ECA Members all agree that clubs must be meaningfully involved in all decisions affecting club football. Now is the time for change”.

Extension of ECA Membership Cycle

The ECA Executive Board has proposed to its members to extend the current ECA Membership Cycle (2010-12) by one year, until the end of the season 2012/13.

The reason for such proposal is to harmonise the ECA Cycle with the UEFA Committees’ Cycle, which would allow for consistency between the ECA Executive Board Cycle and ECA representation at UEFA Committees.

The extension only applies to the current cycle. As from the season 2013/14, the ECA Membership Cycle will again cover 2 years as usual. The ECA Ordinary Members unanimously approved this change.

 

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