ECA President Karl-Heinz Rummenigge cast doubt on the current format of the international fixture calendar at today’s meeting in Geneva (ECA)

(WFI) Europe’s leading clubs have cast doubt on the future of the international fixture calendar, saying that they are set to intervene “much more” to protect against player injury and fatigue.

Speaking after today’s European Clubs’ Association (ECA) Congress in Geneva, ECA president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told reporters that fixture congestion was posing a serious challenge to clubs, who ultimately have to cover player salaries.
Rummenigge said the international fixture list should be changed.

“We have decided that we will intervene much more in the future in the international match calendar, we have the impression that is something very important for the clubs all around Europe,” he said.

“Everyone is so busy in securing additional dates for this or that competition and we forget that the players are often the same and they are stretched to the limit increasing the risk of injuries.”

Rummenigge said that was essential that a “harmonized and a clear insurance policy” was implemented by FIFA to “harmonize the relationship between club football and national team football.”

“It is no longer acceptable that we have to give up our players, taking the risk that, in case of injury, we still have to play their salaries,” Rummenigge added.

“We believe it is the right moment for FIFA and UEFA to take care of our players.”

Despite arguing against more international matches, the ECA expressed “unanimous satisfaction” at the expanded UEFA Europa League.

The ECA said that it was also working closely with clubs to ensure that they comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules and said that it had developed a “self-diagnostic tool” to help member clubs advise on their status.

“I am confident that the Club Financial Control Panel will be able to monitor and oversee the Financial Fair Play measures and it is reassuring that the initiative benefits from the strong support and attention of the European Club Association,” said UEFA Club Financial Control (CFP) Panel, Jean-Luc Dehaene.

The ECA also announced that a further 63 new member clubs had joined, bringing its total membership up to 197 members (103 ordinary, 94 associated).

The ECA unveiled the winners of its first internal awards. European champions Inter Milan were named European Club of the Year; Romania’s FC Unirea Uziceni were awarded for “Best Sporting Progress”; FC Porto won “Best non-sporting Achievement” for its eco-friendly stadium; and Hapoel Tel-Aviv won the award for “Best Social and Community Programme.”

By INSIDER’s James Corbett.

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