G-14, the group representing 18 of Europe’s most powerful clubs has joined a lawsuit taken by the promoter of a major youth tournament against FIFA.
The move represents the latest dispute between the game’s governing body and the organisation set up to represent European big hitters such as Manchester United, Real Madrid and Milan.
London-based Gifted Group, organisers of the “Champions Youth Cup” in Malaysia, together with G14 filed a lawsuit this week in Brussels against FIFA over its failure to give the tournament its official endorsement – without which the tournament could not go ahead.
Gifted have also lodged a complaint against FIFA with the European Commission, accusing them of abusing their monopoly position.
A FIFA spokesman said the organisation had received a copy of the complaint. “But since this is now subject of a complaint, FIFA cannot comment for time being,” he said.
Price said FIFA had “done a U-turn after finding out the G14 are involved and we are seeking an injunction to stop them interfering.
“After initially endorsing our competition, FIFA’s perceived involvement of G14 meant they reversed this position nearly two months later, leaving the tournament’s future hanging in the balance.”
G14 general manager Thomas Kurth confirmed that his organisation, whose clubs were due to send 11 teams to the 16-club tournament in August, had backed Giften in their attempts to overturn FIFA’s ruling.
Price said the competition “is not a G14 tournament” and non-G14 clubs such as Chelsea and Boca Juniors were also scheduled to participate in the under-19 event.
“We have never sought to hide G14’s support and they have assisted us greatly in coordinating invitations to their member clubs and obtaining their help in the development of youth football in Malaysia,” Price said.
“All we want to do is to organise a youth tournament and not get involved with the politics of the sport. In this regard, we have obligations to a number of parties but perhaps most importantly to the Malaysian people.”