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Against World Cup expansion

Rummenigge at the ECA General Assembly in Paris

On Tuesday the 16th General Assembly of the European Club Association (ECA), presided over by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, came to an end. The FC Bayern chairman said that he opposes an expansion of the World Cup to 40 teams. The “healthy balance” between club and national team football “must not be put at risk,” according to Rummenigge. Vice-chairman Umberto Gandini agreed: “We don't like this idea.” The European clubs release and pay the main protagonists in a World Cup; any additional workload is unacceptable.

The FIFA Reform Committee has proposed an increase in the number of teams participating in the World Cup from 32 to 40 by 2026. FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino supports the idea. Despite disagreement on this issue the ECA members spoke out in favour of Infantino as the future FIFA president. “We have no vote, but in the sense of the spirit of football we support Gianni Infantino,” according to Rummenigge. The chairman and the ECA demanded that the clubs have a say in issues which directly concern professional football. “Football as such must be given priority again,” according to the ECA press release.

Agreement on compensation payments

The participants also discussed the future of UEFA's main club competitions, the Champions League and the Europa League. Rummenigge: “I believe that both ECA and UEFA are interested in an evolution of the competitions. Stagnation means regression. We have always jointly looked into ways to further develop and improve the competitions. It is important to find a good solution for everyone involved.”

One outstanding issue has already been solved together with UEFA. The Bundesliga teams will be paid about €100m of compensation for the upcoming EURO 2016. Payments of the daily rates will start 14 days before the first match of each respective team until the day after the tournament is over for the team in question. Each club providing a player for the Germany squad would receive approximately €250,000 if Germany progress to the final. The exact amount can only be calculated after the tournament since clubs in top leagues like the Bundesliga receive higher payments than clubs in less successful leagues, such as Iceland or Slovakia.