ISTANBUL: All talks of breakaways and super-leagues and the rest can be silenced for the next few years after European federation UEFA and the European Club Association signed a new Memorandum of Understanding for the period 2012-2018.
The formal signing was undertaken at UEFA Congress in Istanbul by ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and UEFA president Michel Platini. It will run until May 30, 2018. By then, of course, Platini could be president of world federation FIFA.
One crucial factor – seen as a gesture of good faith by the clubs – is that UEFA has taken the lead in the vexed question of insurance for players on national team duty. While FIFA president Sepp Blatter told UEFA Congress that the world federation would provide policy cover for all players on all formal national team dates, UEFA is already doing as much.
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 as from June, for the start of the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.
Under the agreement clubs will now receive an increased amount of €100m from the Euro 2012 revenues for ‘player hire’ fees with a planned increase to €150m when Euro 2016 expands from 16 to 24 finalist nations in France.
The Club Competitions’ Committee, composed essentially of club representatives, has been grantde a “referral right” on all decisions affecting club competitions and previously-agreed refinements to the intrnational calendar have been written into the document. The calendar should comprise nine double-headers over a two-year period with no single friendlies. The August friendly match date would be removed.
ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “Today is a historic day for European club football. With this agreement, UEFA clearly recognises the importance of clubs and the significant contribution they make to the success of national team football. The agreement reflects an improved balance between national team and club football and is a great success for the European football family.
“I sincerely thank UEFA president Platini for his willingness to reach such an agreement with the clubs. Not only ECA, but all clubs in Europe should be proud of this great achievement. We all look forward to continue building the future of European football together with UEFA.”
Platini said: “I am delighted that this memorandum of understanding is bringing together key stakeholders of the football family. UEFA, its national associations and the clubs have shown unity on several important matters which affect international football. This demonstrates the excellent working relationship we have with clubs and represents a true success in further strengthening the unity of the football family.”
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