Football confederation chiefs and other stakeholders are in Doha for an historic edition of the European Club Association’s (ECA) Executive Board meeting.
At the meeting, members did not renew an agreement on the release of players for international competitions that has been in place between FIFA and Europe’s top clubs since 2015.
The current agreement will now expire on 31 December due to inadequate progress in the negotiations between the parties, according to reports.
The top clubs and the FIFA will not have a player-release or insurance program in place before the upcoming international window in March 2023 as a result of the failure to renew the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the report said.
Both parties are still confident that a deal will be reached in time for an announcement at the upcoming FIFA Congress on 16 March. However, several ECA and club sources expressed their disappointment to The Athletic that the chance to settle this issue now had been missed.
Hosted by FIFA and chaired by Nasser Al Khelaifi, chairman of beIN Media Group and President of Paris Saint Germain (PSG), the meeting saw some of the heads of the footballing industry including, AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, FIFA Deputy General Secretary Mattias Grafström, UEFA General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis, and Secretary General at Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy 2022 Hassan Al Thawadi, among other heads from the African, Asian and North and Central American confederations.
The clubs are especially concerned that this year’s incident, in which the 2023 African Cup of Nations was unexpectedly relocated from next summer to January 2024 without their consent, does not occur again.
In order to coincide with the European football calendar, Africa’s premier international event was relocated from its customary January date to a June/July time window back in 2019.
Another issue that needs to be worked out between the ECA and the world’s governing organization is the long-overdue revision of FIFA’s rules regarding player transfers and status, according to the report.
This lengthy process, which may lead to limitations on the commission rates brokers can receive from transfers, has been going on for years. In accordance with the 2015 MoU, the ECA must expressly approve any changes to these guidelines.
The 2015 MoU was a watershed event since it gave the clubs guaranteed remuneration for releasing their players to their national teams during predetermined windows for international play, putting an end to football’s protracted club versus country rules.