The ECA chairman has insisted that clubs should be given a lengthy transitional period to come to terms with Fifa’s impending ban on Third-Party Ownership
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has claimed that some clubs will need “years rather than months” to come to terms with the new prohibition on Third Party Ownership (TPO).
The acting chairman of the European Club Association (ECA) explained that his organisation supports the new measures announced by Fifa’s Executive Committee recently.
But he warned that many clubs, both in Europe and around the world, will need a significant transitional period in order to fall in line with the proposals.
“We did a study, and the outcome of the study was quite clear, that some of our members are in difficulty due to the decision at the last Fifa Executive Committee meeting to change from Third Party Ownership,” Rummenigge told the Leaders Sport Business Summit in London.
“But the one condition that was very important to us was to include a transitional phase, because all clubs using TPO – especially clubs in the southern part of Europe such as Portgual, Greece and so on – need this transitional phase to find solutions.
“These clubs need some years rather than some months to solve these problems, so we have to try to help them to solve this problem because it is a serious problem.”
The 59-year-old added that it is not only ECA members for whom he fears problems will arise should the introduction of the TPO ban not include a transitional period.
“Many, many of these players are owned by third parties, and don’t forget that the whole of South America is owned by third parties. Every single player in South America is owned by a third party.
“So I don’t know how Fifa will deal with this problem, and that for me personally will be a very interesting story to follow.”
The 59-year-old, taking part in a forum regarding challenges facing the European game, took the opportunity to reaffirm the need for ECA involvement in the final decision on the timing of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The traditional date of June and July has been deemed to be unsuitable due to the intense climate in the Arab nation, leading Fifa to propose the finals taking place in either January and February or November and December that year.
“I believe first of all we have to recognise – everybody in the football family – that the decision was made in favour of Qatar based on it being held in the summer of 2022.
“If now there is a strong wish from various stakeholders, by Fifa, Uefa, FifPro and so on, then we are ready to discuss it, but under one condition: that it is quite clear there is no damage for club football, because if we change from summer to November or to January, it will affect our calendar,” stated Rummenigge.
“The bill for that cannot be paid by the clubs, and we are not ready to pay such a bill. That has to be clear to Fifa and everybody who is now involved who wishes to change the date. They need the good will of the clubs. Otherwise, we are not ready to talk and to discuss this.
“A very important statistic is that 76 per cent of the players at the last two World Cups came from European clubs – members of the ECA.
“It is very clear that they can’t play in the summer because it is 50 degrees, and there is a strong wish to change the date, but that has to be done in consultation with the ECA.”
However, Rummenigge insisted he would not be in favour of a re-vote regarding hosting rights as things stand, despite concerns over the non-publication of US attorney Michael Garcia’s report into corruption in the bidding process.
“Would [a re-vote] be fair for Qatar? I don’t think so. If the Garcia report is clean, then it would not be fair to do that to Qatar.”