Clubs agree £130m deal for releasing players at tournaments

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The Independent Football

Fifa, football's world governing body, and its European counterpart, Uefa, have agreed to pay around $252m [£130m] over the next six years to compensate clubs whose players take part in World Cups and European Championships.

The deal, confirmed by Barcelona's director of international relations, Raul Sanilehi, during a meeting at Uefa's Swiss headquarters yesterday, will involve a $110m payment by Fifa and approximately $142m by Uefa. Fifa will contribute $40m for clubs whose players participate in the 2010 World Cup, with the sum rising to $70m for 2014.

Uefa will also make a fixed payment of $63m for June's Euro 2008 tournament. The 2012 figure is expected to be around $79m, but will be dependent upon total revenue from the event, due to be staged in Poland and Ukraine.

Fifa and Uefa announced last week that they would compensate clubs whose players are involved in either of their flagship tournaments.

The funds provided by the governing bodies will be used partly to provide insurance for players injured during international competitions, a long-standing issue of contention between the clubs and national teams.

Other concessions have been made in favour of the clubs including an agreement that international matches would be played on Saturdays and Tuesdays, rather than Saturdays and Wednesdays – allowing players one more day to recover before their next domestic matches.

Clubs will in future have to release players for only one friendly match a year played outside their own continent.

The Barcelona director also said that Uefa had agreed "as much as possible" to limit the number of teams taking part in European Championship qualifying groups to six, further reducing the number of international matches in the calendar.

In return, the 18 members of the self-appointed G14 group of top clubs are set to disband. Instead, the clubs will be represented by a new, independent body, the European Club Association, which will made up of more than 100 members from all 53 national associations.

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