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European clubs aim to add FIFA say to UEFA executive seats

September 8, 2015

GENEVA (AP) — European football clubs have a FIFA executive committee seat in their sights after getting two places at UEFA’s decision-making high table.

Criminal investigations of senior FIFA officials have put reforming the much-criticized executive panel on the agenda for veteran Olympic official Francois Carrard, who is steering change at football’s world governing body.

European Club Association leader Karl-Heinz Rummenigge suggested Tuesday that clubs now merit a greater say in running FIFA.

“Also the players and women should take a seat in this (FIFA) body, because that is the most prominent and most important body in the football world,” ECA chairman Rummenigge said Tuesday after his own seat on the UEFA executive committee was confirmed.

“Hopefully Mr. Carrard could find a reform process maybe where the stakeholders are included,” Rummenigge said, adding it might happen only after the next FIFA president is elected on Feb. 26.

The current election favorite is UEFA President Michel Platini, who said in March that club leaders should get two seats on his executive board.

Rummenigge, the Bayern Munich chairman, and Andrea Agnelli, the president of Juventus, were appointed Tuesday by leaders of the 220-member European clubs group.

The two officials will attend their first UEFA executive meeting on Sept. 17 in Malta under Platini’s chairmanship.

Rummenigge said Platini would make a good president of FIFA, and acknowledged “very good experiences” while UEFA has been led by his longtime former opponent on the field in the 1980s.

“We don’t forget that seven years ago when ECA was established he was one of the founders,” Rummenigge said. “We have a lot of respect but we don’t know his program (for FIFA).”

Management problems at FIFA since American and Swiss criminal cases were revealed in May have also stalled a project that is key to improving clubs’ often strained relations with the world body, which is focused on national team football.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter offered clubs input to a new “Professional Football Department” in Zurich when he approved a new working agreement with Rummenigge and the ECA in March. That accord guaranteed clubs worldwide a share of $209 million from FIFA revenue for the 2018 World Cup.

That club project is now on standby for FIFA, which was represented by secretary general Jerome Valcke at the clubs’ six-monthly session on Tuesday

“This is going probably to be a decision of the management after the new elections,” ECA official Michele Centenaro said at a news conference.

Rummenigge said Valcke reported that “the actual situation of FIFA is quite difficult.”

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