European giants flex muscles in battle with Fifa

Europe's most powerful clubs will this week mount their biggest ever challenge to Fifa as they seek more power in the way football is run and greater control over their own players. In the latest club-versus-country showdown, the European Club Association – led by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge – will issue a strongly-worded warning on Tuesday threatening possible revolt if Fifa and Uefa fail to include them when sorting out the international calendar.

The ECA, which represents 197 clubs, have lost patience with the governing authorities and are prepared to refuse to release players for future fixtures, although this is considered a last resort. The clubs also want a greater share of television revenues from international fixtures and are demanding Fifa clean up their act after the recent bribery scandals.

Last week, Rummenigge, the former West German striker, warned of a club-led revolution if Fifa fail to change. Although the ECA have a signed memorandum of understanding up to 2014, they want wholesale change thereafter. "After this, we are not bound to accept Fifa's regulations any more," said Rummenigge, adding that Fifa had to address "democracy, transparency and governance".

Sepp Blatter, who recently won a fourth term of office as Fifa president, has been under intense pressure to repair the organisation's image and is due to announce his proposals for cleaning up the game at the end of October. Rummenigge says a split cannot be ruled out if changes are not introduced.

"The clubs are unhappy," he said. "Fifa and Uefa need the clubs for a World Cup or European Championship. But the clubs don't need them. Theoretically we could play Bundesliga and Champions' League without the associations."

ECA sources are playing down the breakaway threat, but Tuesday's general assembly in Geneva is pivotal. "We are concentrating on governance, which is becoming more important as a result of the recent scandals," one senior source told the Independent on Sunday. "We want a greater say in the decision-making process [and] a reduction of dates in the international calendar in favour of club football."

Last month's pre-season friendly was case in point. The ECA want the issue addressed quickly. Otherwise, post-2014, they will no longer be legally bound to release their players. Threats of breakaways and refusal to release players are being treated with disdain by Uefa boss Michel Platini who says he will throw clubs out of Europe if they try to go it alone. He also disputed that the players are having to play too many unnecessary fixtures. "Why are the clubs always blaming national teams?" Platini said in an interview with Insideworldfootball.biz. "What have Bayern Munich and some of the others been doing recently? Going on pre-season tours to earn money."

But ECA officials claim they are not the ones at fault. "Uefa have their agenda and we have ours," said one insider who said "certain proposals" will be made on Tuesday. "We represent different interests, but we have to improve the relationship with the governing bodies. We've lost trust in them."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine