Karl-Heinz Rummenigge will not run for chairmanship of the European Club Association (ECA) anymore. The 61-year-old informed his colleagues on the ECA board of his decision during their meeting in Madrid on Thursday. „Following intense, successful, and good years I believe the time has come to pass on the responsibility. I have always believed this office should only be held for a limited amount of time. My withdrawal from office expresses my sincerity concerning this issue.“
The European Club Association was founded on January 21st, 2008. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, then and now chairman of the executive board of Bayern Munich, was appointed as the first chairman of the newly founded organisation and was confirmed in office three times since. Initially, the ECA had 137 clubs as members, in the meantime there are 220.
“We can be proud of what we achieved in cooperation with FIFA and UEFA,“ comments Rummenigge. „All of our players are now insured for all international fixtures and the clubs now receive compensation when their professionals participate in a World or European Championship. Furthermore, the clubs now have two seats on the UEFA Executive Board and are thus involved in scheduling the match calendar and other vital decisions concerning the clubs,“ Karl-Heinz Rummenigge explains several important ECA milestones.
One issue is of great importance to Rummenigge: “The ECA clubs enjoy great harmony and solidarity. The biggest clubs like Champions League winners Real Madrid work in partnership with smaller clubs like UE Sant Julia from Andorra and treat them accordingly. The European top clubs feel great solidarity with the medium-sized and smaller clubs while these smaller clubs have an understanding for the needs of the big clubs. I am particularly proud of this fact. The ECA calls itself ‚The Voice of the Clubs‘, and I think nowadays we can say with confidence: The ECA is indeed the voice of the clubs in European football.“
The achievements of the ECA were only possible because of the dialogue and successful cooperation with football associations, political and non-political organisations and the clubs, as Rummenigge, European Football Player of the Years 1980 and 1981, emphasises: „I would like to thank FIFA President Gianni Infantino for the willingness to cooperate and the overall collaboration. I would also like to thank Michael Platini and Aleksander Ceferin, the two UEFA Presidents, who I was fortunate to work together with. And of course I would like to extend special thanks to all members of the ECA, to General Secretary Michele Centenaro as well as all employees. You invested a great deal of trust in me and were always very supportive and encouraging. Thank you all so much!“
The next ECA board elections take place on September 5th in Geneva, which is when the successor to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as chairman of the ECA will be appointed.
The most important achievements of the ECA during the chairmanship of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge since the foundation on January 21st, 2008:
• The ECA enforces compensation for clubs whose players participate in World Cups and European Championships.
• The ECA obtains a say in scheduling the match calendar.
• The ECA is involved in all decision-making processes concerning the European club competitions.
• The ECA ensures that the governing bodies must insure players competing in the European Championship and World Cup tournaments.
• The ECA achieves the first agreement in history between the clubs and the FIFA. Among other things, this agreement determines that the clubs are now involved in all important decision-making processes affecting club football.
• The ECA ensures that the clubs receive two seats in the UEFA Executive Committee for the first time in the history of football.
• Creation of the UEFA Club Competitions SA, which will organise and market the European club competitions in the future. UEFA and ECA are equally represented regarding all rights and seats.
(FC Bayern Munich)