Arsenal says G-14 rich clubs "good for football"

According to English Premier League club Arsenal FC's vice-chairman David Dein, the G-14 grouping of football's wealthiest clubs is looking to build bridges with the game's authorities, such as FIFA. "G-14 is a friend of the game," he said as reported by Bill Wilson of BBC News. Pointing G-14's backing of non-members Newcastle United and Charleroi, and other clubs, in their legal disputes with The Football Association of England and FIFA over compensation for players who return injured from international duty, he said "it is not just for the good and great, the rich and famous. It is clubs that are similar in many respects because of their success, or the money they generate."

As to who who should insure club players on international duty and pay compensation if they are then injured, he said he believed a solution was in sight and cases such as that of Belgian club Charleroi, who have taken FIFA to the European Court of Justice over the issue, could be settled out of court. "This is one of the oldest subjects (for clubs), it is being spoken about at all major meetings, about players being injured," he said. "There has to be compensation - it is not unreasonable." He believes the way forward is for either FIFA or European confederation UEFA to buy insurance for players participating in major tournaments, such as the World Cup or European Championship. As for friendly matches, national football associations could pick up the insurance tab, he suggested. "FIFA said it would take a lot of organising, but they can sub-contract it out to one of the top insurance companies," he said.

He said he agreed with FIFA president Sepp Blatter's view that it was an honour for club players to play for their country. "But ... the clubs that release players should get paid for releasing players," he said. "The good news is that the issue is on the agenda now." On international fixtures, the G-14 wants the August international friendly "and maybe the November fixture" to come off the calendar.

On the issue of Player Agents in the domestic game - a topic increasingly under the microscope in England - he said they had a "crucial role in guiding their players". However, he added: "There has to be more control, because it has been a bit of the 'Wild West' over the past few years. "The majority are good agents, but there are some who play fast and loose with the rules."

He said that since the Champions League had moved to a group format in 1992/93, all bar one of the finalists had been G-14 members. "G-14 is delivering the product," he said, adding that the success of its member clubs had a positive impact in driving up TV and merchandising revenues for all clubs.

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