Elite clubs twist Uefa's arm to restrict international friendlies

Concessions by Uefa point to concentrating more power in clubs’ hands

The leading European clubs who have grown tired of losing their players for international dates won significant concessions from Michel Platini, the Uefa president, yesterday over the re-organisation of the football calendar, including the scrapping of the August friendly.

In what was further evidence of the dominance of the modern game by the biggest, wealthiest clubs, their representative body, the European Clubs' Association (ECA), said that Uefa had also agreed to pay €100m (£85m) of Euro 2012's revenues to the clubs, a share that will rise to €150m for the 2016 tournament.

Platini, architect of the Financial Fair Play plans that could revolutionise the game in Europe, has agreed to a cycle of international games of nine double-headers over two years with no dates for single friendlies. The agreement, at the Uefa Congress in Istanbul, is a significant change to the way in which international football has been run.

It coincides with Fifa's agreement to cover the insurance costs of all players in international football from the start of qualification for the 2014 World Cup finals. That is another hard-won battle for the clubs who lost patience with the disparity in injury cover for players from one national federation to another.

The ECA, headed by former Germany striker Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, now chief executive at Bayern Munich, holds a great deal of power over Uefa, who need their cooperation for the Champions League, the world's most lucrative club competition. The clubs have also won a veto over any changes to the Champions League or the Europa League.

All the concessions by Uefa pointed to concentrating more power in the hands of the elite clubs as opposed to the traditional governing bodies. The ECA has a membership of 201 clubs from 53 nations, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Everton, Fulham and Newcastle United.

The shift of power from the game's authorities to the clubs has long been a fact of life in England. The Football Association – whose chairman David Bernstein was in Istanbul yesterday – has always given extensive insurance cover to England players, so the Fifa change will not hit them.

Platini said that the agreement – which must now be formally ratified by Fifa – showed "the excellent working relationship" between Uefa and the clubs. The problem on the horizon is fitting the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar to that calendar if it is to be shifted to the winter months.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Diego Costa, Ross Barkley, Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew and Christian Eriksen
footballRodgers is right to be looking over his shoulder, while something must be done about diving
News
The illusionist believes hypnotism helped him to deal with the lack of control he felt growing up
people'It’s not that people react badly to it – they really don't care'
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
gaming
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible