The chairman of the European Club Association (ECA), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, has expressed his satisfaction with the agreement between UEFA and the ECA which has resulted in the signing of a renewed Memorandum of Understanding for the period between 2012 and 2018.
The memorandum was signed at the XXXVI Ordinary UEFA Congress in Istanbul on Thursday by Mr Rummenigge and UEFA President Michel Platini, and sets the course for fruitful relations between the two bodies.
Under the new agreement, UEFA will, as from June, establish an insurance covering the injury risk of players from European clubs while on national team duty, irrespective of their nationality. Clubs will also receive an increased amount of €100m from the revenue from this summer's UEFA EURO 2012 final round in Poland and Ukraine, in recognition of the important contribution made by clubs to the success of the tournament. The amount will increase to €150m for the UEFA EURO 2016 tournament in France.
The clubs' involvement in UEFA's decision-making process will also be strengthened, and proposed changes to the international calendar would see, subject to approval by world football's governing body FIFA, nine double-headers over a two-year period with no single friendlies, and the August friendly match date removed.
"We had many discussions, many meetings, but in the end both parties can be very happy to reach this agreement," Mr Rummenigge told UEFA.com. "It is proof that in the European football family there is a kind of loyalty and harmony, and of course it is important that we found the right balance for both interests.
"We sometimes have different interests," the executive board chairman of FC Bayern München added, "but with this agreement we have found a good and fruitful balance."
In the future, the UEFA Club Competitions Committee, composed essentially of club representatives, will be able to exercise a "Referral Right" on all decisions affecting club competitions. "It is very important to take part in the decision-making process, because we believe that every decision made by UEFA or FIFA is affecting our business," said Mr Rummenigge. "We have a very important stakeholding."
The former German international also welcomed the agreement related to insurance matters, as well as the proposals concerning the international calendar. "This is recognition by UEFA that clubs in Europe are making a contribution in favour of these tournaments, and that is fair of UEFA," Mr Rummenigge reflected on the insurance issue.
Michel Platini and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge were adversaries on the field of play in a number of major matches, including FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 1982 and 1986. "We are 'old dogs', as I told him," said Mr Rummenigge. "We met very often on the pitch. I remember I was very happy when [Germany] went through [against France] in the semi-final in 1982 and again in Mexico four years later – but I don't want to remind him of this because this is very hard.
"The result on the pitch was always very important for both of us," Mr Rummenigge continued. "But respect and fair play were also very important for both of us. I think that in all our meetings, irrespective of any difficulties, we always met in a very respectful way. That was one of the keys to finding solutions."
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