—- Europe’s clubs are expected to pursue an increase in their slice of FIFA’s World Cup profits as compensation for releasing players to the national team extravaganza writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

A clear hint of dissatisfaction with the $70m to be shared out from this year’s finals in Brazil has come from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the European Club Association , in an interview in the latest edition of FCBusiness*.

The clubs have long complained that the world federation did not consider club concerns over player release adequately. That led to FIFA introducing both international insurance cover and then the compensation release which is based on as national team’s progress through the tournament.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: chairman of the ECA

Rummenigge said that ECA’s relationship with FIFA was not “difficult” but simply “neutral.” However there were issues up for negotiation between the two. One, notably, concerns the timing of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and another compensation payments.

In 2010 FIFA computed $1,650 as the ‘day rate’ for each player a club releases to the World Cup. This has been increased, for Brazil, to $2,950 per day from two weeks before the tournament until the country are eliminated [Had this applied in his playing days Rummenigge would have earned $268,450 for Bayern Munich in 1978 and 1982 then $162,250 for Internazionale in 1986].

Contracted players

Rummenigge said: “I see [the current] amount as a first step in the right direction but if you regard the total income of the World Cup in terms of FIFA, this is a relatively small amount. But FIFA needs the clubs and our players: in the last World Cup in South Africa in 2010, from all parties who sent players, 75 per cent were contracted to clubs in Europe.”

ECA will be closely involved with the FIFA task force which, under the chairmanship of Asian confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, is gathering opinions on the Qatar 2022 timing issue.

With not only a World Cup but a 2021 Confederations Cup to be considered, Rummenigge noted that domestic calendars throughout Europe could be affected for up to three years.

He said: “We in the ECA analysed the calendar, what is logical and what would probably be the best dates and I believe there are two dates to regard: This is the November date which has been announced recently by Mr [Jerome] Valcke [FIFA secretary-general] and the second date is January which would be possible but which is, of course, a problem from the fact that the International Olympic Committee has to organise the Winter Olympics.

“So we have to be very careful to choose the right dates because I, personally, believe the summer dates are not ideal to do a World Cup in a country like Qatar.”

Qatar climate

Rummenigge knows conditions in Qatar well from the visits made by Bayern Munich of which he is chief executive and is concerned for the welfare of players in the searing summer heat, despite the host nation’s promises about stadium cooling.

One of the biggest opponents to a change of dates has been the English Premier League which fear the disruption to the season, a concern which Rummenigge understands.

He said: “The Premier League is still No1 in the world, so there is a reason for the clubs and Mr Richard Scudamore, the ceo, to discuss heavily every possible change from summer to winter or I don’t know, maybe November or January, how that would affect our business and our leagues and our clubs.

“We have to be very careful and I agree with Mr Scudamore that FIFA has to regard the leagues and the clubs and how we, as the owners, are damaged by changing the dates.”

Two weeks ago European federation UEFA warned that 76 clubs were under investigation vis-à-vis its financial fair play regulations.

The ECA support the general concept though Rummenigge suggested that care was needed to ensure that the FFP regulations were interpreted in a manner which treated clubs appropriately in highly varying circumstances.

‘Growing process’

He said: “I believe football is a bit out of rationality. I agree with the fact that if you see the transfers every year we still in a growing process, more money being spent on transfer fees, more money spent on salaries.

“I have no problem if the money is seriously earned and the money is coming from serious sources and earned by the clubs themselves. But I believe in the wording financial fair play . . . and fair play means we have to try to come back to a rational way and a fair way instead of going in a way that is not actually fair.”

Several clubs have already been barred from European competition for failing one or other of the FFP tests but Rummenigge is “not a fan” of the notion of ‘punishment’ for transgressors.

He said: “I believe we have to find penalties that are strong and at the end accepted by all clubs.”

** Full interview at: http://www.fcbusiness.co.uk/eversion/fcb75/index.html