G-14 group of teams to disband Friday
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- A powerful group of soccer clubs will disband Friday after clashing for eight years with the sport's international and European authorities.
The decision comes after the main complaint by the G-14 group -- compensation given to clubs for allowing players to join national squads -- was settled last month.
"The General Assembly is expected to confirm the dissolution of G-14 and the dropping of the legal proceedings concerning the FIFA rules," the group said.
The meeting will end one of the most acrimonious fights in soccer between a soccer establishment seeking to retain as much power as possible and the commerce-driven clubs looking to capitalize on the game's worldwide appeal.
The group includes such juggernauts as Real Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Manchester United. It expanded to 18 clubs in 2002 and intensified pressure on FIFA and UEFA to increase the influence of clubs in running the game.
In practice, it meant getting international federations to take care of player insurance when they are on international duty, provide compensation to clubs and ease the national team calendar to leave more space for clubs to organize profitable games.
There were threats to create a runaway European "Superleague," and G-14 joined three court cases of clubs against FIFA because players got injured on national team duty.
After last month's deal, the G-14 is now committed to stop court challenges against FIFA, which promised to give major clubs a better say in the running of the game and compensation if their players compete in major championships.
Clubs whose players take part in the next two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup will receive about $252 million from UEFA and FIFA.