Europe’s top clubs reach agreement with UEFA

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 favorite to succeed Blatter at FIFA in 2015.

European clubs will share a ”substantially increased” sum on

the ?55 million ($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 March 22 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.