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Euro leagues thrown down FIFA gauntlet

The European Leagues have flexed their muscles towards Sepp Blatter and told FIFA in no uncertain terms that there will be no interference with the international fixture calendar, there will be no winter World Cup in 2022 or any other time, and they will not be dictated to on the size of national leagues.

• Richards impressed by reformers
• Football's Reform Act on the horizon In a declaration of resistance to FIFA, the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) have declared that, while they are prepared to work with FIFA, "they will not tolerate any decision being taken regarding the international match calendar without their previous consultation and agreement and will oppose any interference on matter of their exclusive competence such as the size of national leagues." Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, the chief executive of the EPFL, told ESPNsoccernet before Friday's meeting that it will "definitively be hot". On the agenda of the EPFL will be the "international coordinated match calendar and other FIFA matters", and the meeting will back up the claims of de Medeiros that the leagues would now stamp their mark on the global and European game. In addition, all the European leagues are united in the UK case of matches broadcast from abroad being shown in pubs, calling it a "Bosman of TV" which could have grave financial consequences for the game. There is also a decision to protect all the leagues in Europe against betting companies using fixtures and other "intellectual properties" without paying for them in an industry valued at 17 million euros a year.

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