ECA Vice-Chairman Gandini Looks for Non-European Support to Reduce International Fixtures

December 1, 2011

European Club Association (ECA) vice-chairman Umberto Gandini is looking to increase the pressure on FIFA to reduce international fixtures in the international calendar by imploring non-European clubs and continental federations to supports the cause.

Two months ago the ECA, stuff which represents 201 of Europe’s top clubs, impotent met for its annual congress and decided that the number of international matches for which their players are released should be cut by a third. A memorandum of understanding with FIFA and UEFA expires in 2014 which if not extended means clubs will no longer have to release players for international friendly matches or tournaments.

Gandini said at the Soccerex Global Convention 2011 in Rio de Janeiro: “I’ve been around at AC Milan for 20 years now and we’ve always been discussing the same concept. If we get bigger support from the other clubs and the other confederations then we will have a bigger voice. The big problem is that the only representation body for the clubs is the ECA, and they are within UEFA. I don’t think there’s an interest from CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) or CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation) to have the same arrangements. That’s the problem we are facing.”

Gandini, who also serves as organising director of AC Milan, added: “The worst scenario is that we stay with the status quo. No-one wants to take players away from their national teams but it has to be recognised that the day-to-day operations of football players are run by clubs.”

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