NYON, Switzerland (Reuters) - FIFA and UEFA have agreed to pay around $252 million (129.4 million pounds) over the next six years to compensate clubs whose players take part in World Cups and European championships.
The deal, involving a $110 million payment by FIFA and approximately $142 million by UEFA, was announced following a meeting with club representatives at UEFA’s Swiss headquarters on Monday.
It forms part of a package of agreements aimed at ending years of legal wrangling between the continent’s top clubs and the sport’s governing bodies.
As well as receiving compensation when their players are on international duty, the clubs have received assurances that FIFA and UEFA will look to reduce the number of international matches on the calendar.
In return, the 18 members of the self-appointed G14 group of top clubs are set to disband, making way for a new independent European Club Association.
Based largely on UEFA’s existing club forum, the association will comprise 103 clubs from all 53 national associations with membership determined solely on sporting achievements.
“There is no winner here apart from football itself,” UEFA president Michel Platini told a news conference following the meeting.
“It was utterly unthinkable for us that players might not have the right to play for their national team, but of course we could see that it was also logical that the clubs who provide these players should also share in the profits from the competitions.”
The agreement will see FIFA contribute $40 million for clubs whose players participate in the 2010 World Cup with the sum rising to $70 million for 2014.
UEFA will also make a fixed payment of $63 million (43.5 million euros) for June’s Euro 2008 tournament. The 2012 figure is expected to be around $79 million but will be dependent upon total revenue from the event, due to be staged in Poland and Ukraine.
The funds provided by the governing bodies will be partly used to provide insurance for players injured during international competitions — a long-standing issue of contention between the clubs and national teams.
The imminent dissolution of G14 — due to be formally confirmed at the organisation’s next general assembly in Brussels on February 15 — is also expected to herald the end of three pending court cases.
G14 has been backing Belgian club Charleroi against FIFA in a court case centred on Charleroi player Abdelmajid Oulmers who was prevented from playing for eight months after injuring himself while playing for Morocco in November 2004.
Similar cases brought by Olympique Lyon in France and Atletico Madrid in Spain are also expected to be dropped.
“This is a day of reunification for the football family,” said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the new club association.
“The lawsuits will be dropped and it is a sign that we are on the right path and that the many misunderstandings and legal actions are now a part of the past.”
Further concessions made in favour of the clubs include an agreement that the second game of ‘double-header’ international matches will be played on Tuesdays, rather than Wednesdays — allowing players one more day to recover before their next domestic matches.
FIFA has also agreed that clubs will only have to release players for one friendly match a year played outside of own continent.
UEFA said “whenever possible” it would limit the number of teams taking part in European championship qualifying groups to six — further reducing the number of international matches in the calendar.
Editing by Sonia Oxley