[QODLink]
Football
'Breakthrough for European club football'
Europe soccer clubs and UEFA agree to drop August international friendlies but now wait on FIFA's approval.
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2012 17:53
ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is delighted about decision to reduce number of friendlies [GALLO/GETTY]

Europe's leading soccer clubs hailed a 'major breakthrough' on Tuesday after agreeing with UEFA to drop the unpopular August date for international friendlies.

European Clubs Association (ECA) chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, in an address to the body's general assembly in Warsaw, said an agreement had been reached with the European governing body over scrapping the date.

However, the German warned that world body FIFA had yet to sanction the move.

FIFA itself said it was surprised by recent developments at the ECA, saying the association had hindered progress on the international calendar because its members had declined to attend FIFA committee meetings.

ECA said that it and UEFA had agreed that the international calendar would be made up of nine double-headers covering a two-year period, with no single friendlies.

In a new Memorandum of Understanding between UEFA and the clubs, they agreed that the two matches of the double date for friendlies should be played on the same continent.

The final tournaments of all confederations would end in mid-July in future, and players would not be expected to play in more than one international tournament a year.

Clubbing together

The ECA, comprising Europe's top 201 clubs, also reached agreement over insurance payments for players injured while on international duty, starting at Euro 2012.

It agreed an increase in benefits from UEFA for clubs whose players were involved in Euro 2012 and Euro 2016.

With so many more African players now with European clubs, it was agreed that the Africa Cup of Nations should start as early as possible in January, when it was staged.

"UEFA clearly recognises the importance of clubs and the significant contribution they make to the success of national team football"

ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Rummenigge said the agreement was "a major breakthrough for European club football".

"With this agreement, UEFA clearly recognises the importance of clubs and the significant contribution they make to the success of national team football," he said. 

"The negotiations have not always proved easy, but were always conducted in a fair and respectful manner.

"I sincerely thank UEFA, in particular UEFA President (Michel) Platini, on behalf of all European clubs and look forward to our continued cooperation. This is once more a proof that in the European football family solutions can be found in a cooperative and fair way."

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.