Europe’s leading clubs have set themselveson a collision course with FIFA over the decision to hold the Confederations Cup in France this June.
The decision to play the tournament has prompted the clubs to threaten to withdraw their players.
After a two-day meeting of the European Club Forum at UEFA’s headquarters at Nyon, the clubs’ representatives said they not only opposed this summer’s tournament but were against the Confederations Cup in principle.
‘The European clubs are 100 per cent not in favour of these competitions,’ said Arsenal vice-chairman and chief executive David Dein.
‘They come at the end of the season when the players needa rest and a holiday.
‘We have a lot of players who are French and Brazilian and both France and Brazilhave been invited to take part in the Confederations Cup. They are expected to report in the second week of June for a tournament that runs from June 8 to June 29.
‘Our pre-season training begins on July 7 and this would leave them with no time to relax or recover. The players are not wind-up toys. They are highly-tunedand prepared professional athletes and they need rest and recovery at the end of a hard season.
‘We all feel the same wayon this, all clubs from all levels, from the poor to the rich. If it goes ahead, we could be withdrawing players.’
Dein was supported by Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon, who claimed that FIFA president Sepp Blatter was aware of the clubs’objections.
‘We have made Mr Blatter aware that we are all against these tournaments.
‘We are unanimous on this and we feel now that it has to be taken seriously. We are against them and see no need for them.’
‘I see no special reasons for this (the Confederations Cup) and I cannot see why we should release our players for it.
‘I don’t think it should happen at all.’ Kenyon added.
‘It should not take place, not this summer, not at all.’