Gill urges FIFA to rethink friendlies

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The Independent Online

Manchester United chief executive David Gill believes FIFA must remember who supplies the players before they think about shoving more international dates into an already cramped fixture calendar.

United returned from their five-match tour of North America knowing that immediately after next Sunday's Community Shield encounter with Manchester City at Wembley, they will lose players to international friendly matches.



Three weeks after that comes the first international double-header of the new campaign, within a month of that there will be another and in mid-November their players will be called away once more.



Yet FIFA president Sepp Blatter has spoken about more international dates being added, which has angered Europe's powerful leading clubs intensely.



"Clearly it hasn't been a good year for FIFA," said Gill. "No-one could say it has.



"The calendar is wider than just the European situation but it is clear, we provide the players. We are a key part of the game.



"The Champions League is one of the top competitions in world football. We are producing the product. Everyone has to understand that."



It could be argued FIFA have more than enough on their plate just now trying to solve the corruption scandal that erupted in the wake of a presidential election in which Blatter ended up as the only candidate.



There can be little faith in the world governing body to solve anything else at present, although Gill trusts UEFA president Michel Platini to take up the cudgels on his member clubs' behalf.



"There are some issues," said Gill.



"The way the calendar is constructed, the number of dates FIFA put in, insurance.



"There are no easy solutions. These things have been around for many years but if we can get together, it will be for the betterment of the game.



"UEFA is a professional organisation. What it has done in terms of its own structure and the Champions League is very professional.



"We have had an initial dialogue with them and they can liase with FIFA."



The row will doubtless rumble on for a while yet, with Gill now on standby for the next month just in case a deal presents itself that would solve Sir Alex Ferguson's midfield conundrum in the wake of Paul Scholes' retirement.



Even without Scholes, United have still been installed as favourites to continue their domination of the Premier League by registering Ferguson's 13 title and the club's 20th overall.



"The whole Premier League has been the greatest era for Manchester United," reflected Gill.



"We have been very successful but the most important thing is that the whole club, on and off the field, cannot assume it will continue."



Source:PA

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