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By ESPN Staff
Dec 6, 2006

FIFA explore international player insurance

FIFA have announced they will set up a working group to look at whether a widespread insurance programme for players on international duty should be introduced.

Earlier this year, for the first time, FIFA set aside 15million Swiss Francs (£6.4million) in an insurance fund to compensate clubs if their players were injured at the World Cup.

The latest step appears to be a further attempt to find a solution to the thorny issue, which has been one of the key points of dispute between world football's governing body and G-14, the grouping of 18 elite European clubs.

'It is in the very early stages,' FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren told PA Sport's Football Insider, following the announcement on the second day of a FIFA executive committee meeting in Zurich.

'FIFA set up a fund at the World Cup, and following that experience, a working group has been set up to have a look at whether something similar could be introduced more broadly.'

G-14 are currently backing Belgian club Charleroi, who are taking FIFA to the European Court of Justice after one of their players, Abdelmajid Oulmers, picked up a serious injury while playing for Morocco.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter in the past has made no secret of his dislike for G-14 and earlier this year said he was 'irritated' by the group.

However, Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, who was elected as the new chairman of G-14 in October, recently said he was confident a solution would soon be found regarding the issue of player compensation, and insisted he was hoping to 'build bridges with UEFA and FIFA'.

Herren added: 'I think one can conclude that this (working group) is an attempt by FIFA to find a solution to something that has been part of the club versus country issue.

'I understand there have already been a number of meetings between the FIFA president and David Dein, and these have been positive.'

The working group, which will be headed by FIFA executive committee member and German FA president Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder, will report back to the executive committee at their next meeting in March.

However, Herren added that it is unlikely a final decision will be made until a later date.

'It will be discussed more at the next meeting, but I doubt anything final will be decided at the next meeting,' he added.

'The working group will have to assess a number of things, including the legal implications. It is not something that can be decided in a short space of time.'