Top club association wants FIFPro to drop challenge to transfer system

GENEVA (AP) — Europe's top clubs want international players' union FIFPro to withdraw a threatened legal challenge to football's transfer system.

European Club Association chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge urged the 65,000-member union on Tuesday to keep football out of courts.

"It can't be the sense of football that we have to find solutions via legal claims," Rummenigge said after a meeting of the ECA, whose 220 members conduct most of the multi-billion dollar annual trade in players.

"I am still a friend of the (transfer) market," the Bayern Munich chairman said.

The legal threat should be debated on Wednesday at UEFA headquarters by its professional football strategy council, which includes ECA and FIFPro officials.

That panel is chaired by UEFA President Michel Platini as a forum for clubs, leagues, players, and national federations to drive European football policy.

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"We always had the understanding in the past that if there is a problem then we have it try to find solutions within the PFSC," Rummenigge said.

FIFPro said in 2013 it wanted to challenge how players are "shackled" to clubs who buy and sell them. The union also believes players are not protected enough against clubs who in many countries fail to pay wages on time.

Netherlands-based FIFPro has said it could file a complaint with European Union authorities.

Rummenigge warned that court decisions have damaged football, highlighting the Bosman ruling on contractual freedom in the 1990s which has helped clubs from wealthier leagues and television markets form a stronger elite.

"The Bosman case is responsible for everything. The result in the end has been paid by the smaller countries," Rummenigge said.

He suggested that the landmark ruling should "motivate FIFPro as well not to go for a legal court."

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