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Soccer Summit Planned in Europe

February 1, 2001

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ The European Commission invited FIFA president Sepp Blatter and European soccer head Lennart Johansson to a summit meeting on the sport’s transfer system.

``It would be a good thing at this stage to give a political impetus,″ Amelia Torres, spokeswoman for European Union antitrust head Mario Monti, said Thursday.

Viviane Reding the European commissioner responsible for sports and Social Affairs commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou will join Monti at the summit. No date has been set yet.

The talks were delayed when Blatter and Johansson, the president of the Union of European Football Associations, argued publicly over soccer’s position.

The EU says soccer players should have the same rights as other EU workers, who can break contracts and switch jobs at any time.

Soccer officials say this would harm the sport, but the players’ union generally supports the EU position. Currently, only players whose contracts have expired and are moving to teams in other EU nations may switch teams without transfer fees.

The sides have said they hope to have a deal by Feb. 16.

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