Representatives from 163 member clubs attended the European Club Association’s (ECA) 20th General Assembly, the organisation’s 10-year anniversary event, in Rome, Italy.
The future of European club football
Addressing the members for the first time in his capacity as ECA Chairman, Andrea Agnelli, in the presence of the FIFA and UEFA President respectively, underlined the importance of preserving the game moving forward and shaping the future of European club football jointly with all stakeholders. He emphasised the importance of a balanced international match calendar beyond 2024, including coordinated release periods, the alignment of confederation tournaments and, very importantly, the protection of the main actors, the players.
Andrea Agnelli: “Shaping the future of football means sharing ideas, opinions, proposals but, above all, it means caring about the needs of all stakeholders. We, the clubs, take the entrepreneurial risks of any decision affecting the club game and, therefore, we must be consulted when the time comes for any decision to be taken. Football is in transition, where some fear a revolution and others rely on evolution. Wherever we go, let us not forget that we must preserve “the beautiful game.”
Financial Fair Play
ECA is pleased to announce that its member clubs have endorsed an enhanced set of Financial Fair Play Regulations, which, subject to final approval of the UEFA Executive Committee, will come into force for the upcoming 2018/19 season. This announcement follows an exemplary and collaborative consultation process between ECA and UEFA over the past months. The new regulations will focus on more transparency, harmonisation of accounting principles and addressing the assessment time gap. The member clubs reiterated their strong commitment to Financial Fair Play, a project, which has seen a very positive development since its launch in 2010.
Future of the transfer system
Member clubs were updated on the work currently being carried out by a specially set-up task force of the FIFA Stakeholders Committee on the future of the transfer system. The task force has been mandated to assess all aspects of the system and will present its recommendations to the FIFA Council in due course. Whilst enhancements to the transfer system are necessary and welcomed, it was made clear that ECA favours an evolution of the system, rather than a “revolution”, and the necessary time to reach the right conclusions. The transfer system is too important to the professional club game to rush the decision-making process. The ECA representatives in the task force will defend strongly the clubs’ position in upcoming meetings.
Club Competitions Players’ Eligibility Criteria
Further to the request of ECA and after thorough discussions in the Club Competitions Committee, ECA and UEFA have agreed to drop the current eligibility rule in European club competitions. In the future, as of the upcoming 2018/19 season, clubs will have full flexibility in fielding players who are being transferred during the winter break and have previously played UCL/UEL group stage matches for a different club.
New Executive Board Member and election of subdivision representatives
Following the resignation of Anders Horsholt (former FC Kobenhavn) from the ECA Executive Board, elections were held to fill the vacant position. Niclas Carlnén, CEO of Malmö FF (SWE), was elected as Executive Board Member for the remainder of the running 2017-19 membership cycle.
Additionally, for the first time, elections were organised to appoint subdivision representatives to sit as observers on the Executive Board. This comes following the ECA Governance Reforms, which were adopted at the last General Assembly in September 2017, and which included the introduction of an enlarged club participation in the Executive Board. The following representatives were elected and will join the Executive Board as observers until the end of the membership cycle:
Subdivision 1: Sergey Fursenko | FC Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS)
Subdivision 2: Raphael Landthaler | SK Rapid Wien (AUT)
Subdivision 3: Stefano Pantovic | FK Crvena Zvezda (SRB)
Subdivision 4: Vidar Halldorsson | FH Hafnarfjördur (ICE)