KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The big guns of European club football have appealed for the players’ union to pull back from the brink of court action to rip up the transfer system.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Umberto Gandini and Pedro Jimenez Lopez – leaders of the European Club Association as well as senior directors of Bayern Munich, Milan and Real Madrid – all warned about the uncertain consequences of FIFPro’s proposed complaint to the European Union and courts.

In January the European division of FIFPro voted unanimously for the “pursuit of all legal avenues available, including legal complaints to the European Commission” to challenge “football’s fundamentally flawed player transfer system.”

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: wants to keep talking

The danger, according to Rummenigge, was of creating a “new Bosman case” which he blamed for the increasing financial imbalance between rich and poor in the European club game.

ECA and FIFPro come face to face this week at a meeting of UEFA’s Professional Football Strategy Council which is chaired by the European federation president Michel Platini and is a policy talking shop for stakeholders in the professional game.

Mutual satisfaction

Rummenigge, after the ECA general assembly in Geneva, said: “We are in talks with FIFPro and I hope we will find solutions which which can be accepted by both [sides]. I would like to call call FIFPro to avoid a legal case because it cannot make sense for football to find solutions by legal claims.

“The Bosman case [outcome] maybe should motivate FIFPro not to go to the courts because sometimes the decisions by a court are not in the interests of football. The outcome [of Bosman] has been paid by the smaller countries.

“We have to try to find a solution within the football family that is good for the game and not just for one body.”

The Bayern chairman was echoed by Milan’s Umberto Gandini, who is ECA’s first vice-president.

He said: “The transfer system serves its purpose because it’s working well. The money paid also benefits the smaller and forming clubs. Look at the case of Martial [£36m from Monaco to Manchester United]: there there will be a big fall-out of money to the clubs who formed the player. So it works.”

A greater problem was that of clubs not meeting transfer payment stage deadlines.

Real Madrid’s Pedro Lopez Jimenez warned about another sort of law, the law of unexpected consequences. He said: “The new TV contract of the English Premier League shows that the interest in football is increasing and transfers make headlines which is normal. It is important to be careful not to change.”

The outcome of court action, he warned, was far from certain and “could have unexpected consequences. We have to be careful before making changes in these type of things.”

Financial imbalance

Rummenigge, despite his concern about the imbalancing consequences of the Bosman ruling, had only praise for the ever-increasing financial power of the Premier League.

He said: “We can only congratulate the Premier League and Mr [Richard] Scudamore [chief executive] for the income they are able to generate from the TV pot which is a big advantage for Engish clubs, both the big ones and those from the second rank.

“Their income is much bigger than ours even in Germany, Italy and Spain and we have to find different philosophies which will not be easy. The tsunami will be getting bigger next year because the TV pot in England will be much bigger than even this year.

“I am still a friend of the market because the market has to solve demand in football as in all business areas around the world.

“It is a fact that the English [market] has a certain advantage regarding money but I don’t believe we have to criticise that – it is a motivation for all clubs, especially in the other four big countries to be more competitve. I’m not too pessimistic.”

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