International

Europe must close financial gap on EPL

2015-09-08 17:57
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (AFP)

Geneva - Clubs from mainland Europe must do better to close the financial gap between themselves and their English counterparts, European Club Association (ECA) chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Tuesday.

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.

"I believe we all can just congratulate the Premier League and the income they are able to generate from the TV pot," Rummenigge told reporters.

"It is, of course, a big advantage of the English clubs, especially for the big ones but also for those in the second row."

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 from spending more than their generated income.

"Their income from the TV pot is much, much bigger than our income in Germany or Italy or in Spain, so we have to find different philosophies which will not be very easy," he said.

"The tsunami wave will probably get bigger next year because the TV pot will be bigger than this year, and so the transfer market will be totally dominated by the English clubs, that is a fact."

Although many fees remain unofficial, it was generally agreed that of the 10 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.

"We have to recognise it is a motivation for all clubs especially, in the four big countries, to do better in the future, to be more competitive otherwise we will probably have a problem," he said.

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

"We are in talks with FIFPro and I hope we will find solutions which can be accepted by both," he said. "I would like to call on FIFPro because it can't be for the good of football that we find solutions through legal claims."

Rummenigge said the Bosman case, where the European Court of Justice barred transfer fees for players out of contract and removed the limit on the number of foreign players a club can field, showed that "sometimes decisions made by a court are not for the good of football.

"The Bosman case is a good example where the outcome has been paid by the smaller countries and the mid-sized countries," he said.

"When I played professional football, clubs like Ajax and Anderlecht won European competition and this is nearly impossible in today's times and the problem is based on the Bosman case."

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