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Arsenal's Dein to head G-14, seeks compromise with UEFA, FIFA

Arsenal's Dein to head G-14, seeks compromise with UEFA, FIFA

The new chairman of the G-14 group of leading European soccer clubs reached out to FIFA and UEFA on Wednesday, seeking to overcome fundamental differences that has led to court challenges and constant acrimony.
"I hope that as chairman of G-14 I will be able to build bridges with UEFA and FIFA," Arsenal vice chairman David Dein said after he was unanimously elected by Europe's leading 18 clubs.
The G-14 is supporting Belgian club Charleroi in its lawsuit against FIFA which seeks compensation when a player is injured while playing with his national team.
Many see the suit as a major test in the power struggle between clubs and federations.
The case is before the European Union's highest court, which could set new rules for all clubs and national teams in the world's richest leagues.
"There are issues, such as player release, insurance and the international football calendar, which remain a source of dissatisfaction for many professional football clubs, not just G-14 ones. We think these can be resolved if we all work together," Dein said.
Instead of the often acrimonious standoffs of the past, Dein wants to instill a sense of compromise in the ongoing discussions.
"I want to bring about change harmoniously and constructively," he said after the election.
Dein opens his two-year tenure, taking over from Juventus' Roberto Bettega.
The G-14 also approved a new management committee consisting of representatives from Lyon, Juventus, Porto, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.
The Charleroi case involves midfielder Abdelmajid Oulmers, who was injured playing for Morocco in November 2004 and sidelined for eight months. The club claimed the injury likely cost Charleroi a place in the UEFA Cup and wants FIFA to pay damages of euro615,000 (US$795,000).
Since FIFA regulations demand clubs release players for national team duty, Charleroi has sued the world body.
The G-14 joined the suit, seeking euro860 million (US$1.1 billion) for releasing players over the past decade. A Belgian court rejected that claim in May, but referred the Charleroi claim to the European Court of Justice.
FIFA has countered by working to establish an insurance mechanism, including launching a test program at the World Cup in June and July, that would compensate teams when a player is injured while with their national team.
The G-14 has said it wants a compromise in the case.
"I hope that over the next nine months we can achieve this," Dein said of the chances to resolve the outstanding issues.