Liverpool’s Manager Calls for FIFA to Pay Up for World Cup Injured Player

June 12, 2006

Liverpool, England, manager Rafael Benitez hit out at FIFA Saturday, saying clubs should be compensated when their players are injured while on international duty.

Benitez’s outburst came days after France and Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse broke his leg in a World Cup warmup against China.

“There are wages to pay and also we can’t sell the player,” he said in a story on Liverpool’s Web site. “It’s clear there is a problem with the rules. As a club, not only have we lost a player we have lost big money.”

Cisse was expected to be sold to Marseille for eight million pounds (US$14.7 million; euro11.7 million) after a fallout with Benitez. With the 24-year-old out until Christmas after having surgery on his leg, Benitez won’t be able to sell him and use the transfer funds to bolster the team.

“FIFA should insure the value of the players they want to participate (in the World Cup),” he said. “If they’re not prepared to pay for this, OK, maybe the clubs should say the players can’t play.”

FIFA introduced a special insurance pool this year to cover the costs if a player is injured at the World Cup. It amounts to 15 million Swiss francs (US$12.5 million; euro9.6 million) or five percent of the tournament’s prize pool.

That sum is unlikely to appease clubs since FIFA is expected to rake in 2.8 billion Swiss francs US$2.3 billion; euro1.81 billion) from this World Cup.

Belgian club RSC Charleroi has taken FIFA to the European Court of Justice charging its rules requiring the release of players for national teams are illegal. French club Lyon has sued FIFA after an injury to one of its players while on national duty.

Also, the G-14, comprised of major European clubs including Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Juventus, have demanded euro860 million (US$1.1 billion) in costs for releasing players for national team duty over the past 10 years. The European Professional Football Leagues added its support to the G-14 this year.

This isn’t Liverpool’s first case either.

“I know Liverpool has suffered a lot because of the rules,” Benitez said. “This time it’s Cisse, but last year we had a problem with Milan Baros when he was injured playing for the Czechs.”

As FIFA continues to reject the demand for direct payment, President Sepp Blatter has called for patience while it attempts to find the best solution.

“We are not waiting until the court decides,” Blatter said. “We have a problem and we have to solve the problem.”

“We will have to find out, ‘Was he already injured? What is his salary? What is really the loss?”‘ FIFA general secretary Urs Linsi said. “So it’s not so easy with the insurance. So many different kinds of things can happen. With this World Cup fund, we will have experience.”

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