ECA, the European Association of football clubs, met on 8th Feb in Switzerland. Please find below parts of the press release.
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) would like to express its concern on the way matters of such importance are managed by football’s world governing body and underline its opposition to such a disruption.
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.
ECA 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. Currently, this is not the case. At present, following a long and exhausting World Cup tournament, national team players are 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.
ECA would like to recall that in 2004 the European clubs accepted to renounce to a Champions League with two group stages thus reducing the match dates from 17 to 13 to allow for more rest for players.
In October 2010, we found 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, we propose some new basic principles that we 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”.
For the full text please go to: http://www.ecaeurope.com/Default.aspx?id=1121337