European clubs demand “an agreement” with Fifa

The European Association of Clubs (ECA) demanded Friday from Fifa “an agreement” on the reform of the international calendar, reminding the body of its obligations and regretting “the lack of real consultation” on its plan for a World Cup every two years.

Like many players in world football before it, the powerful ECA “has followed with great concern” the launch by Fifa “of a communication campaign” to double the frequency of the World Cup, it indicates. she in a statement.

Basically, the lobby representing 247 clubs, employers of most of the internationals present in the major finals, is in favor of reducing the number of international windows, but not a biennial World: there is “no room. “in the current calendar, explained at the beginning of September its legal director, Michael Gerlinger.

The Fifa project would “have a direct and destructive impact” on club football, “endanger the health and well-being of the players”, “dilute the value and meaning of club competitions and selections” and “would conflict” with women’s and youth tournaments, lists the ECA.

The association, chaired by PSG boss Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, furthermore denounces “the absence of real consultation, or even of consultation at all” on the part of Fifa, “in direct and unilateral violation of certain legal obligations “.

The ECA refers to the agreement which governs its relations with the world body, currently runs until 2024 and must be discussed again for the future – which in its eyes implies “detailed negotiations and a joint approval of the international timetable. “.

However, if Fifa has announced that it wants to “listen to all opinions”, for the time being it has only planned one formal consultation: with its 211 member federations, meeting next Thursday, and among which a majority of small countries has financially interest in a more frequent World Cup.

“The risk is to make football better, I am ready to take this bet,” Arsene Wenger, who is carrying this project to revise the international calendar as director of development for Fifa, told the BBC on Thursday evening.

For the former Arsenal coach, the current schedule “is not clear, not simple, (does not represent) a modern way of organizing the season”. “If we continue like this we are going straight into the wall,” he added in British radio’s The Sports Desk podcast.