European Clubs Want FIFA to Insure Players Injured in International Games

By Graham Dunbar | September 10, 2010

Europe’s top clubs want FIFA to use some of its billion-dollar World Cup revenues to insure players who are injured during international games.

European Club Association chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said this week that FIFA’s World Cup income is increasing “thanks to our players,” and the governing body can afford to fund insurance that would pay the wages of those who returned injured to their club.

“It is no longer acceptable to give up our players taking risk in cases of injuries,” Rummenigge said after being re-elected to lead the umbrella group of Europe’s best and wealthiest clubs.

Rummenigge said European soccer’s ruling body has agreed to work with clubs on a plan but talks with FIFA have not gone well.

“(FIFA’s) cake is always getting bigger,” he said. “We don’t speak about millions, we speak about billions. It is a fact that they don’t suffer financial problems so they could, I believe, finance that kind of insurance policy,” he said.

European clubs also want FIFA to end international exhibition games played each August because the matches take players away when clubs are preparing to start their seasons.

Rummenigge’s club, Bayern Munich, has lost Dutch forward Arjen Robben until next year because of a thigh injury he aggravated during the World Cup.

“He came back in worse condition and now we have to pay the bill,” Rummenigge said.

FIFA’s dispute with clubs over compensation for injured international players helped lead to the creation of the ECA in 2008.

Rummenigge said he hoped Europe’s clubs and FIFA could repeat their successful talks of 2008, which brought international match dates forward by one day to a Friday-Tuesday double-header. That allowed players to returned to their clubs earlier.

“That is a good example of how things can go in the right direction,” Rummenigge said.

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