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An Untold idea making its way into football

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By Walter Broeckx

Is football going to change in the near future?

If it depends on the European Club Association it will. The ECA is an organisation from the biggest clubs in Europe and Arsenal is a member of this organisation as are most of the top clubs in England and in Europe.

Karl Heinz Rummenige, the former star of German football and Bayern Munche, who is president of the ECA has said that the calendar has to change in the future and that they will hold talks on this matter with Fifa and Uefa.

The European Clubs Association have also vowed to speak to Uefa about the number of international friendlies and compensation for injuries picked up on duty.

ECA president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge demanded the introduction of an insurance policy and an end to the “nonsense” games that see players get injured.

He said: “The total income made by Fifa in a World Cup is thanks to our players, paid by our clubs.

“I believe it is quite fair that we take a certain part of the big cake. The cake is always getting bigger and bigger, we’re not speaking about millions, we’re speaking about billions and I ask Fifa as an act of solidarity… to take the risk of this insurance policy.”

Bayern Munich has suffered a lot from the injury Arjan Robben got when he was with Holland before the world cup. They prepared him for the tournament and then when he came back Bayern found out that his injury was far worse than they knew. Add also the fact that the Dutch football federation did not allow the Bayern doctor to have a look at the injury at the time he got his injury.

Rumenige said: “It was a classic case,Ppior to the World Cup he was injured, he came back in a worse condition and now we have to pay the bill… we still have to pay the monthly salary.”

Rummenigge also wants to do something about the number of  friendly games that are played.

He added: “We have decided that we will intervene much more in the future in the international match calendar. “The federations such as Fifa have to recognise that the players are our employees, so we have to be more involved in this kind of matter which in the past unfortunately was not always the case. The August friendly date is nonsense, especially in a year where the players are coming back from a World Cup.”

And if I may add: the November friendly was as ridiculous as the August friendly games.

So the ECA wants an insurance policy paid by Fifa so the clubs don’t have to pay the bill when their players get injured in international games. And they want to have a word in the way the international calendar is made.

The ECA also wants some kind of formal way of action when a player gets injured while on duty for his country so that the club doctors can see the player. So when a player gets injured the club doctors should be able to see their player and look at the injuries themselves. So we could prevent the Vermaelen situation where he played his last game for Belgium with an Achilles injury and by doing so it got worse. The Belgium team doctors knew the risk but they let him play anyway and Arsenal paid the price.

And according to the media in my country Rummenige came with the proposal for the football calendar and the ECA wants to play club football for 8 months and in this period the CL and also the Europa league should be played.  Then a period of 2 months for international football. Then a holiday period of one month and then the clubs had a preparation period of 1 month.

And somehow this comes very close to what I have written and proposed on this site a few months back. http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/7619 Now I don’t know if I should claim the rights for this idea or not? Back to serious thoughts now.

Commenting on the resolution Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “Everyone is so busy in securing additional dates for this or that competition and we forget that the players are often the same and they are stretched to the limit increasing the risk of injuries. A harmonised calendar and a clear insurance policy will be one of our main goals and this could help further to harmonize the relationship between club football and national team football.”

And I really hope that the ECA can make it so far. It feels rather good to be on the same wave length as the ECA and maybe more important is that Rummenige also said that they hoped they would reach a consensus with Fifa and Uefa but in case that agreement wouldn’t be reached, that ECA is considering  of going to court in order to get a court ruling on this which would make Fifa and Uefa have to accept the desires of the clubs.

So who knows, a new Bosman-court ruling in the making but with very important  consequences for Uefa and Fifa and will they have to accept and listen to the demands and desires of the clubs. I will keep you informed when I read something about it.

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4 comments to An Untold idea making its way into football

  • Phil

    Regarding the injury situation, all we need is a 3rd party doctor who declares whether a player is fit to player or not, taking into account their long term health. Anyone associated with the club/country is intrinsically biased, and will have no credibility No doubt technically Vermaelen was capable of playing (but not actually fit to, if you get my drift) but even if he wanted to play Arsenal should have had some form of say as they are paying his wages and suffer from long-term damage that was done.

  • Tram

    I was pleased to read that somebody is taking on the FIFA monopoly. I loathe international football because I like to watch football teams who are designed as a unit, not merely an assembly of the 11 best with similar passports who don’t necessarily play well together (Lampard/Gerrard anybody). I dream of the day when a club starts neotiating with its own players by offering wage increases if they are willing to ‘retire’ from international duty. Plenty of thirty-somethings have given up international duty like this to extend/protect their (wage-paying) club career (Scholes for example, Carragher for a while). Who knows, maybe its already happening?

  • walter

    I agree Phil. An independent doctor that can decidew which the risks are, tell the to all the people involved and when they do decide to play a player with an injury the national federation admit that they are taking the risk and that they are willing to pay the eventual wages till the player returns.
    In the Vermaelen case I think our national federation would have decided not to let him play as they are very short of money in the last couple of years and they wouldn’t want to take any risk. Maybe the Vermaelen wage bill in the last couple of months would be the same as the entire wage bill from the Belgium football federation for a year.
    The clubs would benefit (financially and for having their players back fitter) and the player would benefit (because of not being out so long). The national federations would have to be more carefull when risking an injured player. But I have always been told that you cannot play with the health of another person. Maybe the national federations should keep this in mind.

  • Stuart

    Not sure I can agree with the reason given by Phil, although a third party doctor would probably not be biased towards the club, there is a chance they could be biased against the club or even be bribed. IMO it should be down to the clubs doctor to declare them fit, if the club stops them player representing the national team they can speak up or leave to a club that respects them.