Europe`s top clubs to boycott FIFA talks
London: The European Club Association, which comprises Europe`s top 200 clubs, said on Friday it was boycotting talks with world soccer`s governing body FIFA over its reluctance to make changes to the international match calendar.
The move represents yet another fissure in their already fragile working relationship with the ECA turning down an invitation from FIFA to attend a major review of the calendar in Zurich on March 5.
ECA spokesman Marc Schmigdall said the ECA and Europe`s governing body UEFA were co-operating well over future changes to the calendar but said that ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and general secretary Michele Centenaro declined FIFA`s invitation to talks.
"We have had discussions with UEFA and are close to finding a final agreement with them, but talks with FIFA have been disappointing and we have decided not to attend FIFA meetings until further notice," he said.
At the core of the dispute is the ECA`s wish to have the number of internationals each season slashed from around 12 dates to six and for no in June and August.
Rummenigge, and many others have described those dates as "nonsensical" in the past and managers and coaches throughout Europe continually complain about the August fixture in particular, with friendlies often scheduled before clubs have even played their opening league match.
FIFA is reluctant to cut the number of games which provide a source of revenue while another disputed topic is that the ECA wants FIFA to take out insurance and pay for the salaries of players injured while playing for their countries.
The ECA will present their own calendar proposals at their general assembly in Warsaw next week which the chief executives and presidents of all the ECA`s member clubs from 53 nations are likely to attend.