Fifa and Uefa face European pay claim

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Europe's major clubs are to ask Fifa and Uefa, the governing bodies of the world and European game respectively, to pay for players' salaries during the finals of the World Cup and the European Championship.

Europe's major clubs are to ask Fifa and Uefa, the governing bodies of the world and European game respectively, to pay for players' salaries during the finals of the World Cup and the European Championship.

A meeting of the 102-club European Club Forum in Nyon, Switzerland, ended yesterday with delegates deciding to confront the authorities over the issues of wages.

The clubs feel they should not have to pay their players' salaries while they are turning out for their countries. Persuading some national associations to provide the money is virtually impossible so the clubs have decided to target the money-spinning final tournaments of Fifa and Uefa. They will also raise the question of who should insure players while they are on international duty.

Although some FAs, such as England's, do insure players, many national associations do not and leave the clubs to arrange cover. The club forum wants Uefa and Fifa to make it obligatory for national associations to cover such costs.

The 102-club body also stated its opposition to the Club World Championship and Fifa's Confederations' Cup for national teams, echoing last week's meeting of the élite G14 clubs.

The Arsenal and Football Association vice-chairman, David Dein, said: "Virtually everyone is 100 per cent of the opinion that there should not be a future for the Club World Championship and the Confederations' Cup.

"At the end of the season after the players have had a gruelling domestic championship and European competitions, Arsenal could have our Brazilian and French players going to France from approximately June 8 to June 29 for the Confederations' Cup.

"Pre-season training commences on July 7. It gives the players no chance to recover. They are not wind-up toys. They are professional, finely tuned athletes. They need time to recover."

Manchester United's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, added: "The clubs have independently let Fifa know their feelings. These have been further strengthened in the plenary meeting that has taken place in the past two days."

The Milan organisational director, Umberto Gandini, pointed out that there was already an early start to next season. He said: "It is to the detriment of the clubs and players who have to prepare for an early start to the season because of Euro 2004 next year. We do not see any sporting reason why the competition [the Confederations' Cup] should be played."

Uefa is set to introduce a "silver goal" system to replace golden goals for the knock-out stages of next season's Champions' League. The new system, to be used at the 2004 European Championship in Portugal, come into effect if extra time needs to be played.

If one team is leading at the end of the first 15-minute half of extra time, then the team in front will be deemed to have won the match. If the scores are level, however, the second half of extra time will be played. If the game is level at the end of 30 minutes of extra time, the winner will be decided by a penalty shoot-out.

Under the golden goal rule the team that scores the first goal in extra time wins the match.

Uefa hopes that the silver goal system will be seen as fairer by clubs and their supporters, thereby reducing security problems. It also hopes the system will help to establish a single pattern for extra time in all tournaments and competitions.

"I think it will be more popular with the players and the fans," said the Arsenal vice-chairman and chief executive, David Dein. "And it will cause fewer problems for the police and security."

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