Set out below is a brief summary of the salient points from the UEFA and ECA agreement. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, president of the ECA, said the agreement consolidates an improved balance between national and club football, and recognises the significant contribution of clubs to the success of national team football. Michael Platini, president of UEFA, credited the agreement with strengthening the European football family.
The agreement centres around three objectives:
- promoting unity;
- safeguarding the evolution of European football; and
- ensuring clubs are fully represented in decisionmaking processes.
With a view to enabling these objectives, the ECA and UEFA agreed joint and individual undertakings.
A unified relationship between ECA and UEFA was emphasised although references to FIFA indicate that the Parties aim to foster unity with the worldwide governing bodies. Their relationship hinges on mutual recognition of authority; the ECA as the sole representative of European club football and UEFA as governing body of European football.
The ECA undertook to be democratic, transparent and open to all UEFA member clubs. It agreed to communicate with UEFA regarding any proposed amendments to ECA statutes in order to avoid any conflict with UEFA regulations, and also to invite UEFA to its General Assembly in an observing capacity. UEFA will similarly invite the ECA to UEFA's Congress.
ECA agreed to prevent its members participating in competitions not organised by UEFA/FIFA or joining associations that have members from more than one country. It will also prevent clubs from any involvement in legal proceedings against UEFA, particularly in relation to player release. More generally, the ECA undertook to abide by UEFA regulations and recognise the Court of Arbitration for Sport as the only body that should rule on sports disputes. To help enable this unification, UEFA agreed to support the ECA administratively and logistically.
It was noted that recognition of FIFA as the worldwide governing body of football would be dependent on FIFA concluding an agreement with both Parties similar to the Memorandum between ECA and UEFA.
Safeguarding Evolution of the European Game
In terms of safeguarding the evolution of European football, the International Match Calendar agreement was particularly important. The Memorandum agrees a reduction in the number of international matches per 2 year period from 12 to 9 'double headers' (9 day periods on national team duty including a maximum 2 matches). The August friendly date is to be removed as are single friendlies. International tournaments will conclude mid- July at the latest. The release of players for matches outside the International Match Calendar will be noncompulsory. UEFA will target the African Football Confederation in the hope of scheduling the African Cup of Nations as early as possible in January for the benefit of clubs and players.
The International Match Calendar is subject to FIFA approval. UEFA has various goals in this respect, including persuading FIFA to amend its regulations so that all national teams are required to play the two matches of any 'double header' on the territory of the same confederation, and coordinate with FIFA so that players would be released to national team duty for a maximum of one final tournament per year.
EURO Clubs will receive €100m from the UEFA EURO 2012 revenues - almost twice as much as the €55m distributed after Euro 2008. This amount will further increase to €150m for EURO 2016.
UEFA will establish insurance to cover injury risk of players when released to national teams. This insurance is valid for all players registered with a European club, irrespective of their nationality, and for all matches in the International Calendar. UEFA will also support a 'Medical Protocol' to enable effective communication between national and club doctors concerning players.
The Memorandum enables club involvement in UEFA decisions. The Club Competitions Committee, formed essentially of Club representatives, have a 'referral right' to review and comment on all decisions affecting the format or regulation of UEFA club competitions. No permanent alterations can be adopted unless both Parties are in agreement.
The ECA will take a significant role in the Professional Football Strategy Council by appointing the four club representatives. ECA members will also be invited to make representations to UEFA on club matters and to attend those meetings relating to clubs.