World clubs discuss new representative body
BRUSSELS, May 31 (Reuters) - More than 40 clubs from across the world discussed on Wednesday the possibility of setting up an independent representative body.
The formation of a pan-European or a wider international group was discussed during a meeting hosted by the G14, representing 18 of Europe's top clubs, and 25 other clubs from Europe, Africa and Latin America, sources told Reuters.
No formal agreement was concluded at the talks. Further investigation on the structure and remit of such an organisation needs to be done, the sources said.
"The feeling was that there is a need for an independent body to defend the interests of clubs in every country," a source said.
"How this body would be organised needs to be looked at but it would be democratic with proportional representation."
The conference hosted by G14, which includes clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, invited clubs to discuss wide-ranging issues such as the international calendar, insurance and release of players for international duty.
Other clubs in attendance included Celtic, Anderlecht, Red Star, Galatasaray and Corinthians.
One idea being investigated was an expansion of G14 which has increasingly taken a stand for clubs against FIFA, world soccer's ruling body, and the national associations.
It was made clear during Wednesday's discussions that any new body would not be formed in opposition to FIFA.
"There is no breakaway. Clubs are just seeking a proper seat at the table," a source said.
"The present situation whereby it is the national associations who have the votes and clubs have no direct say needs to be changed - that's what these clubs are saying."
FIFA has refused to acknowledge the G14 and its president Sepp Blatter has threatened to "go to war" with them.
Earlier this month a Belgian court referred a case taken against soccer's governing body by Belgian club Charleroi and the G14, seeking compensation for a player injured while playing for his country, to the European Court of Justice.
The 18-club body wants clubs to consulted on the international calendar which covers matches for which players must be released under FIFA rules.