ECA Media Release

  • First meeting of fully re-established & re-focused Board post failed breakaway
  • ECA more united than ever in collective European vision for all clubs
  • Major focus on men's and women's International Match Calendar including unanimous position on biennial FIFA World Cup proposal


The Executive Board of the European Club Association (ECA) met in Paris on 2nd December to address a critical range of topics relating to the future of professional football, at a time of on-going and significant challenges for the game.

Under the Chairmanship of Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the ECA Executive Board meeting was the first to be convened with newly elected and/or appointed Board members Alessandro Antonello (FC Internazionale), Miguel Angel Gil (Club Atlético de Madrid), Daniel Levy (Tottenham Hotspur FC) and Vinai Venkateshem (Arsenal FC).

The meeting saw Oliver Kahn (FC Bayern München) appointed to the Board to take up the role of 1st Vice-Chairman as a replacement for Michael Gerlinger (FC Bayern München) who will continue to attend Board meetings as an observer.

Over the course of three hours of frank, impassioned and detailed discussion, the Board focused on various key areas of interest including:

  • The Board’s unanimous position against the biennial FIFA World Cup proposal – a position that represents over 240 professional football clubs of Europe, whose players comprise the vast majority of any FIFA World Cup (with it being noted at almost 90% of players featuring in the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia were provided by ECA clubs).
  • Agreement that the future of both the men’s and women’s International Match Calendar (IMC) in their next cycles must be developed in a manner which (1) ensures the right balance around the needs of the club game and international football, (2) affords necessary safeguards and protection to players which is seemingly being overlooked by the current proposals, and (3) takes into account of the central role and voice of club football and ECA in any decision-making.
  • The Board also expressed its deep concerns around player safety and welfare ahead of the African Cup Nations and upcoming international windows in early 2022, particularly in light of the worsening public health situation and the severe challenges faced during recent international windows. The Board agreed to engage urgently with FIFA to ensure all necessary precautions are in place to protect players and club interests as the health situation continues to deteriorate in an alarming manner.
  • The need to modernise financial fair play rules based around an agreed set of principles to align the regulatory approach with the realities of the times.
  • The renewal of the ECA-UEFA MoU which will shape the two organisations’ relationship as they seek to work collaboratively in addressing challenges and exploiting opportunities to develop the European game in its next phase for the period post-2024.
  • The elaboration of more detailed feedback around the topics addressed in the UEFA Convention on the Future of European Football in September as ECA continues to pursue efforts aimed at securing the long-term sustainability of European football.
  • Ongoing work around internal ECA matters including, the modernisation of its membership structures and the further development of its administration.

The meeting – the last to be held in 2021 – comes following a year of severe turbulence for football, which saw the failed attempts to launch a breakaway European Super League and continued challenges posed by COVID; but which has seen ECA emerge even stronger and more united in its collective belief that clubs are the foundation and future of a properly run footballing system.

Following the conclusion of the ECA Executive Board meeting, ECA Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi stated:

“At ECA, while we represent over 240 football clubs of Europe, we make our decisions collectively and united as one – and this makes our decisions even more powerful. Today, the ECA Executive Board made clear our insistence that the voice of European clubs is properly respected in all decisions related to the International Match Calendar, and that consultations are comprehensive and genuine.

After another year of managing all the challenges caused by COVID, it was fitting to convene our last meeting of the year with a fully re-established, re-united and re-focused Board. We are fortunate to have some of the most talented and visionary club leaders in football on our Board, and I have every confidence that ECA will play a defining role in shaping and securing the future of our game in 2022. ECA ends the year stronger than ever.”