Soccer clubs to help refugees

The 80 teams participating in this season’s Champions League and Europa League will each make a donation to help ease the refugee crisis in Europe.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (SEPTEMBER 8, 2015) (REUTERS) – The initiative from FC Porto proposing that European soccer clubs should help refugees has been adopted unanimously by the European Club Association (ECA) after the election of a new Executive Board in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday (September 8).

As Europe struggles with a migration crisis with 380,000 people arriving in the continent by sea this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), European clubs have decided to give assistance to the refugees.

“The clubs, maybe, have to help the refugees. This is a serious and big problem we have to face now in Europe and I believe football has a kind of responsibility,” said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge who has been re-appointed as ECA chairman for another two-year term.

“We did agree that all Champions League participants and all Europe League participants, that means a total of 80 clubs, will donate one Euro for each sold tickets for the first European home match,” he added.

This action concerns the first home game in both European competitions with a fund being created in which the ECA expects to raise between two to three million Euros.

More than 2,760 people have died making the crossing this year, according to the IOM, with the majority of deaths occurring in the crossing between Libya and Italy.

In other matters, Rummenigge said that clubs from mainland Europe must do better to close the financial gap between themselves and their English counterparts.

Rummenigge said the difference would only get bigger when a new domestic broadcast deal, a 70 percent increase on the existing one, comes into effect next season in England, with overseas rights still to be negotiated.

“It is a fact now that the English one have certain advantages regarding the money but I don’t believe that we have to criticise that, maybe it is a motivation for all clubs especially, in the other four big countries in Europe, to do better in future, to be more competitive otherwise we will probably get a problem because that is probably to expect,” Rummenigge told reporters.

Rummenigge said that television revenues also left English clubs better equipped to deal with Financial Fair Play, the break-even rule which seeks to prevent clubs taking part in European competition after spending more than their generated income.

“The tsunami wave probably will be, getting bigger next year because the TV pot in England as everybody knows is from beginning from next year, much bigger that it had been this year and so the transfer market was totally dominated by the English clubs, that is a fact,” he said.

Although many fees remain unofficial, it was generally agreed that of the ten most expensive deals involving English clubs since the end of last season, seven of the players were bought from other leagues.

Rummenigge, who is also chief executive of Bayern Munich, said that clubs from Spain, Germany, Italy and France had to use their imagination.

Rummenigge also appealed to the players’ union FIFPro not to pursue legal action in a bid to reform the transfer system.

“I would like to call the FIFPro to try to find a solution to avoid to open a claim or a legal case, whatever, because it can’t be in the sense of football that we have to find solutions via legal claims,” said Rummenigge.

Asked about Platini candidature for FIFA presidency, Rummenigge said:

“At the end, I would call, we are patient but we are convinced when he (Michel Platini) will be president that he will be a good president of FIFA.”

Platini is seen as the front-runner in the race to replace Blatter who will relinquish his mandate at the Feb. 26 election in Zurich.