Europe’s leading clubs want FIFA to insure the salaries of their players who serve on international duty.
European Club Association chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said FIFA’s World Cup income is increasing “thanks to our players,” and the governing body can afford to pay for insurance that would pay the wages of those who returned injured to their club.
“It is no longer acceptable to give up our players taking risk in cases of injuries,” said Rummenigge, in his capacity as chairman of the European Clubs Association (ECA).
European clubs also demanded that FIFA abolishes international friendlies held each August because the matches take players away when clubs are preparing to start their season.
Rummenigge said the ECA needed to explain to FIFA president Sepp Blatter that “certain things don’t make sense.”
“(FIFA’s) cake is always getting bigger. We don’t speak about millions, we speak about billions. It is a fact that they don’t suffer financial problems so they could, I believe, finance that kind of insurance policy,” he said.
Rummenigge’s club, Bayern Munich, is currently without Netherlands forward Arjen Robben until next year because of a thigh injury he aggravated playing at the World Cup.
“He came back in worse condition and now we have to pay the bill,” said Rummenigge, describing Bayern’s problem as “a classic case.”
Conflict between clubs and FIFA over compensation for injured international players was one of the reasons the ECA was set up in January 2008.
In a peace deal struck with FIFA and UEFA, the elite G14 lobby group of clubs agreed to disband and reassemble as the ECA in exchange for dropping legal action and receiving payments from World Cup and European Championship revenues.
FIFA will therefore share $40 million among clubs worldwide who supplied players for the 2010 World Cup.
However, Rummenigge said the daily rate for letting Robben play in South Africa would earn Bayern less than one week’s basic pay.
ECA vice-chairman Umberto Gandini said the FIFA contribution was agreed simply to recognize that clubs were the only members of the football family not getting a share of tournament revenue.
“Now we realize that the exploitation of our players is always there by the (national) associations,” Milan director Gandini said. “It is kind of weird that we should be responsible for the insurance. We have the opportunity to find FIFA very sensible on this point.”
Rummenigge said he hoped Europe’s clubs and FIFA could emulate their successful talks of 2008 which brought international match dates forward by one day to a Friday-Tuesday double-header, allowing players to returned earlier for club training.
“That is a good example of how things can go in the right direction,” the former West Germany striker said.