Clubs agree US$252mil compensation deal

NYON: FIFA and UEFA have agreed to pay around US$252mil over the next six years to compensate clubs whose players take part in World Cups and European Championships. 

The deal, involving a US$110mil payment by FIFA and approximately US$142mil by UEFA, was announced following a meeting with club representatives at UEFA’s Swiss headquarters on Monday. 

It forms part of a package of agreements aimed at ending years of legal wrangling between the continent’s top clubs and the sport’s governing bodies. 

As well as receiving compensation when their players are on international duty, the clubs have received assurances FIFA and UEFA will look to reduce the number of international matches. In return, the 18 members of the self-appointed G14 group of top clubs are set to disband, making way for a new independent European Club Association. 

Based largely on UEFA’s existing club forum, the association will comprise 103 clubs from all 53 national associations with membership determined solely on sporting achievements. 

“There is no winner here apart from football itself,” Michel Platini, president of European governing body UEFA, told a news conference. 

“It was utterly unthinkable for us that players might not have the right to play for their national team but of course we could see it was also logical the clubs who provide these players should also share in the profits from the competitions.”The agreement will see world football’s ruling body FIFA contribute US$40mil for clubs whose players participate in the 2010 World Cup with the sum rising to US$70mil for 2014. 

UEFA will also make a fixed payment of US$63mil for June’s Euro 2008 tournament.  

The 2012 figure is expected to be around US$79mil but will be dependent upon total revenue from the event staged in Poland and Ukraine. 

The funds provided by the governing bodies will be partly used to provide insurance for players injured during international competitions, a long-standing issue of contention. 

The imminent dissolution of G14, due to be confirmed at their next general assembly in Brussels on Feb 15, is also expected to herald the end of three pending court cases. 

“As a sign of their commitment and goodwill, member clubs will take the formal decision to dissolve G14 and to withdraw its claims in court,” a G14 spokesman said. 

Further concessions made in favour of the clubs include an agreement the second game of ‘double-header’ international matches will be played on Tuesdays, rather than Wednesdays. 

FIFA also agreed clubs will only have to release players for one friendly a year played outside of their own continent. 

UEFA said “whenever possible” they would limit the number of teams taking part in European Championship qualifying groups to six, further cutting the amount of international matches. – Reuters 

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