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Clubs' grievances set to be heard

The landscape of the global game is set to change dramatically with Europe's most powerful clubs ensuring their views on how world football is run will be heard by FIFA and UEFA at a meeting scheduled for late February.

Last year, ESPNsoccernet reported on the demands of the European Leagues, who are backing the European clubs in pushing ahead with major reforms of world football that will affect the World Cup, European Championships and all of international football.

Key to the reforms will be the level of compensation paid to clubs for the release of their prized internationals, the extent of the insurance policies and claims for injured players, the entire structure of the international calendar, and how it impacts on the devaluing of friendlies. Also at stake is the continuation of the Champions League in its current guise, and the present format of the World Cup and European Championship.

With the European Club Association (ECA) set to hold its next general assembly on February 27-28 in Warsaw, the main point on the agenda will be the ongoing discussions with UEFA and FIFA regarding the Memorandum of Understanding between both parties which expires in 2014.

A source told ESPNsoccernet: "The ECA is currently discussing with both UEFA and FIFA matters such as insurance for national team players, compensation for the release of players, international calendar and governance, which will form the basis for the new Memorandum of Understanding.

Those discussions have now entered the "crucial phase in negotiations" and it is possible that there will be a major announcement at the two-day general assembly.

The exact meeting agenda has not yet been finalised, however the source added: "There is a common understanding that the international calendar should only be made up of double-dates and no single friendlies, in particular in the month of August."

ESPNsoccernet understands that under the current agreement, clubs will get $70 million for the 2014 World Cup - in 2010 in South Africa, FIFA paid out $40 million.

For the European Championship, UEFA paid out €43.5 million in 2008 in Switzerland/Austria, while this year will see €55 million spent in Poland/Ukraine.

Figures beyond 2014 need to be fixed, but it is clear that the clubs are agitating for more as nations effectively 'buy' their players for the duration of internationals.


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