European Club Association
The European Club Association (ECA) is the sole, independent body directly representing football clubs at European level. ECA exists to protect and promote European club football. Its stated aim is to create a new, more democratic governance model that truly reflects the key role of clubs in football.
Formed on the dissolution of the G-14 group in January 2008, as from the 2013-15 membership cycle, the European Club Association represents 214 clubs, made up of 105 Ordinary Members and 109 Associated Members, with at least one from each of the 53 national associations. The precise number of Ordinary Member clubs from each member association will be established every two years at the end of the UEFA season on the basis of the UEFA ranking of its member associations according to the following principles:
|National Association position in UEFA ranking||Number of ECA Ordinary Member clubs|
|1 to 3||5|
|4 to 6||4|
|7 to 15||3|
|16 to 28||2|
|29 to 53||1|
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was the acting chairman before officially being elected chairman of the ECA when its 103 members met for the first time on the 7–8 July 2008 at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
In addition to replacing the G-14, which was dissolved in favour of the ECA on 15 February 2008, the new ECA also replaces UEFA's European Club Forum (of which Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was also chairman). The European Club Forum utilized a similar membership selection process as the European Club Association, with 102 members picked every two years.
At the creation of the European Club Association in January 2008, it was agreed that a transitional ECA Board would represent ECA and its 16 founding members until the next General Assembly met at the end of the season, when elections for a new Executive Board would be held. It was decided that the ECA Board would comprise eleven members, in addition to the four representatives appointed by the Executive Board to the UEFA Professional Football Strategy Council. The European Club Association will also provide half of the members of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee.
The transitional ECA Board was Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Chairman; Bayern Munich), Joan Laporta (Vice-Chairman; Barcelona), John F. McClelland (Vice-Chairman; Rangers), Umberto Gandini (Vice-Chairman; Milan), Peter Kenyon (Chelsea), Maarten Fontein (AZ Alkmaar) and Jean-Michel Aulas (Lyon).
The ECA Executive Board currently stands as such: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Chairman; Bayern Munich), Umberto Gandini (first Vice-Chairman; Milan), Sandro Rosell (second Vice-Chairman; Barcelona), Michel Verschueren (third Vice-Chairman; Anderlecht), Evgeny Giner (CSKA Moscow), Andrea Agnelli (Juventus), Florentino Pérez (Real Madrid), Ivan Gazidis (Arsenal), Maarten Fontein (AZ Alkmaar), Jean-Michel Aulas (Lyon), Theodoros Giannikos (Olympiacos), Diogo Brandão (Porto), Jakub Otava (Sparta Prague), and Ausrys Labinas (Erkanas). Elections for the Executive Board for the 2013-15 cycle are set to take place at the next General Assembly in Geneva on 9 September 2013.
The European Club Association is made up of numerous bodies including working groups, expert panels and committees. These are as follows:
Since the creation of the ECA, Working Groups have been an important cornerstone of ECA's organisational structure. They provide active advice and support to the ECA Executive Board and to ECA representatives participating in committees or working groups at UEFA, FIFA and EU level. Their contribution is key and strategic to the association. In addition, they drive membership engagement and communication across the organisation on key issues, challenges and opportunities. All working groups are made up of both Ordinary Member and Associated Member Clubs from all four subdivisions.
Competitions Working Group: Chaired by ECA first Vice-Chairman Umberto Gandini (Milan), the Competitions Working Group aims to lead the management and control of the club competitions through the relevant UEFA and FIFA club football committees.
Finance Working Group: Chaired by ECA Executive Board Member Jean-Michel Aulas (Lyon), the Finance Working Group strives to address all issues related to club finance, to optimise resource allocation and club business management.
Institutional Relations Working Group: Chaired by ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Bayern Munich), the Institutional Relations Working Group seeks to strengthen the ECA position and representation among different stakeholders in European football.
Marketing & Communication Working Group: Chaired by ECA second Vice-Chairman Sandro Rosell (Barcelona), the Marketing & Communication Working Group oversees issues on club football marketing, communication and promotion, and aims to define a coherent and up-to-date strategy around commercial opportunities.
Youth Working Group: Chaired by ECA Executive Board Member Maarten Fontein (AZ Alkmaar), the Youth Working Group attempts to stimulate, develop and protect the grassroots of European club football.
Legal Advisory Panel: tasked with bringing together legal experts and arbitration members of ECA Member Clubs in order to share expertise and knowledge and act as a mediator for any Member Club dispute.
Financial Fair Play Panel: charged with collaborating with UEFA in order to further elaborate, implement and assess the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
Statutory Affairs Panel: Entrusted with dealing with and analyzing membership applications, issues of eligibility of Members and the interpretation and application of the ECA Statutes.
Social Dialogue Committee: Ensures a close relationship between ECA, EPFL, FIFPro Division Europe, UEFA and the European Commission in order to agree common solutions on matters concerning employment in football.
Women's Football Committee: Acts as a platform to discuss issues related to women's football and to establish a dialogue with relevant stakeholders in women's football. The committee originally consists of 23 clubs including the women's section of 18 ECA members and 5 non-ECA member women's teams ranked top of their respective National Associations. The 23 members, with the non-ECA member clubs marked in italics, are as follows:
NÖSV Neulengbach (AUT), Standard Fémina de Liège (BEL), Sparta Prague (CZE), Brøndby (DEN), Arsenal Ladies (ENG), Everton Ladies (ENG), Valencia Femenino (ESP), Levadia Tallinn (EST), Honka Espoo (FIN), Olympique Lyonnais Féminin (FRA), Paris Saint-Germain (FRA), 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam (GER), Bayern Munich (GER), PAOK (GRE), Torres (ITA), Liepajas Metalurgs (LVA), Birkirkara (MLT), Twente (NED), Lillestrøm FK Kvinner (NOR), Zvezda-2005 (RUS), Slovan Bratislava (SVK), Umeå (SWE), Zürich Frauen (SUI).
Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by UEFA in 2008, the European Club Association was recognized as the sole body representing the interests of clubs at European level. As part of the Memorandum of Understanding, UEFA also agreed to distribute every four years an amount from the European Championship to national associations for them to pass on to their clubs who have contributed to the successful staging of a European Championship. The target distribution amount for Euro 2008 is €43.5 million ($62.8 million), with the payments made on a "per day per player" basis of approximately €4,000. As part of the planned moves, UEFA and FIFA will also enter into a series of commitments to the clubs, including financial contributions for player participation in European Championships and World Cups, subject to the approval of their respective bodies.
A renewed Memorandum of Understanding for the period 2012-2018 was signed on the 22nd of March 2012 between ECA and UEFA at the occasion of the XXXVI Ordinary UEFA Congress. The memorandum was signed by ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and UEFA President Michel Platini. It paves the way for a fruitful relationship between European clubs and Europe's football governing body, reflecting an improved balance between national team and club football. The new MoU supersedes the 2008 MoU and is now in effect until 30 May 2018. The four key topics of the new MoU are as follows:
International Match Calendar
The International Match Calendar, a key topic of discussions, makes the release of national team players compulsory for clubs on the dates it highlights. The 2014-18 International Match Calendar is based on a concrete proposal put forward by ECA, and the efforts of a dedicated working group comprising representatives from ECA, EPFL, FIFPro, and UEFA. The working group's recommendation, acknowledged by FIFA, offers a more balanced system of 9 double-headers over 2 years with no single friendly matches and is beneficial for both clubs and national associations.
Insurance for Players' Salaries
The Club Protection Program, initially put in place at the expense of UEFA to cover the UEFA Euro 2012 in Poland/Ukraine, has since been taken over at FIFA's expense following the approval by the FIFA Congress in Budapest in May 2012. It now covers all clubs that release players for A-national teal matches listed on the International Match Calendar, including a FIFA commitment to insure the football tournament of the Olympic Games. The Club Protection Program provides compensation for clubs in the event that national A-team players participating for their national association suffer a temporary total disablement (TTD) as a result of bodily injuries caused by an accident. Players are insured up to a maximum of one year from the day of the excess period (= date of injury + 27 days) and a maximum of €7,500,000.
Distribution for EURO Benefits
As stipulated in the 2008 MoU between ECA and UEFA, the UEFA Executive Committee agreed to set aside provisions of €43.5m for the UEFA Euro 2008 in Switzerland/Austria, and €55m for the UEFA Euro 2012 in Poland/Ukraine. With the renewal of the MoU, the benefits for clubs releasing players for the UEFA Euro 2012 in Poland/Ukraine, have increased to €100m and are set to increase again to €150m for the UEFA Euro 2016 in France. In view of the increased amounts of benefits received by clubs, UEFA and ECA have elaborated a new distribution mechanism. The main objective of this distribution mechanism is to have a fair and balanced system, ensure increased benefit for all clubs compared to previous tournaments, and guarantee more clubs are entitled to receive a share of the benefits. For the UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland/Ukraine, the total amount of €100m were split between the final tournament (60%) and the qualifying phase (40%). This new distribution mechanism led to 578 clubs receiving varying amounts of compensation from UEFA for their part in releasing players for qualifying matches and the final tournament, a significant increase from the 181 clubs who received a share after the UEFA EURO 2008.
Finally, the new MoU has also granted a greater influence for clubs in the decision-making processes at UEFA. In the future, clubs are guaranteed to have their voices heard and that no decision directly affecting club football will be taken without their prior consent. ECA representatives are appointed from the Executive Board in both the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Professional Football Strategy Council.
Community & Social Responsibility Report
In September 2011, the European Club Association published its first Community & Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. The aim of this publication was to present the beneficial work of European football clubs in the field of CSR. The report is a collection of 54 ECA Member clubs’ CSR projects. All projects underline that football, and sport in general, have an important social and educational role to play.
ECA Legal Bulletin
As of 2011, the European Club Association has published a yearly Legal Bulletin, outlining key recurrent legal issues faced by club representatives. The legal bulletins aim to provide support and advice to clubs on how to deal with particular problems regarding training compensation, dealing with clubs in administration, third party ownership, etc.…
ECA Report on Youth Academies in Europe
In September 2012, ECA published a Report on Youth Academies in Europe, which acts as a benchmark and provides a comparable perspective that underlines different approaches and philosophies of youth academies across Europe.
ECA Study on the Transfer System in Europe
In March 2014, ECA published a study on the transfer system, which offers an in-depth overview of all the incoming and outgoing transfer transactions involving European clubs over a two-year period. The ECA Executive Board mandated PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and LIUC University to carry out this work.
The following sixteen clubs founded the ECA in 2008:
All ECA members
This list is complete as of the beginning of the 2013/14 season. Ordinary Member Clubs are marked in italics
- Due to the liquidation in 2012 of the company that formerly ran the club, Rangers were not permitted to continue their full membership of the ECA. However Rangers FC was entitled to associated membership of ECA as considered to be a founding member with its history intact.
- ECA Vision
- UEFA hails creation of European Club Association
- Agreement heralds new era in football
- Rummenigge to chair ECA
- G-14 football group is disbanded
- FIFA.com - Victory for football as a whole
- European Club Association: The New Voice of the Clubs
- uefa.com: European Club Forum
- ECA Working Groups
- ECA Legal Advisory Panel
- What is Social Dialogue Committee?
- ECA Women's Football Committee Kick's Off in London
- ECA Memorandum of Understanding 2012
- FIFA Congress fully backs reform process
- UEFA and ECA Memorandum of Understanding 2012
- Memorandum of Understanding 2008
- European Club Association publishes Report on Youth Academies
- ECA Member List
- "European clubs body downgrades Rangers' status but recognises history". STV Sport. STV Group. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012.