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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 13:03 GMT
G14 joins Lyon over Fifa action
G14 director general Thomas Kurth
The Abidal situation is another example of how clubs are disadvantaged by FIFA rules
G14 director Thomas Kurth
Lyon and G14, which represents Europe's top 18 clubs, have jointly begun legal action against Fifa over the issue of international player release.

They claim Fifa's rules, which stipulate clubs must release players, violate European laws of competition.

G14 director Thomas Kurth told BBC Sport: "It is an abuse of a dominant position by a governing body."

The action has been sparked by the injury to Lyon's Eric Abidal, who broke his foot during a France friendly.

Abidal fractured a bone in his foot against Costa Rica in November and faces weeks on the sidelines.

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Lyon released six players to France for the friendly and president Jean-Michel Aulas said: "On average, our players have been away on national team duty for 500 days per year.

"The club remains committed to releasing its players for national team duty but wants to do so on a fairer set of terms and conditions than currently apply.

"We believe that these regulations can and should be amended through a process of negotiation involving the clubs."

Aulas is suing Fifa for 1m euros (675,000), with G14 offering its support and financial help with the legal fight.

Kurth said the right to compensation is a motivating factor behind the writ against Fifa that they have issued to the Lyon High Court.

"We don't say we want compensation but it is all tied in together," said Kurth.

"The rules state that players have to be made availabe for zero price.

"We think the rules should be changed as a result of negotiation between the national teams, the clubs and the national federations.

Eric Abidal in action for Lyon
Abidal faces several months on the sidelines after fracturing his left foot

"The Abidal situation is another example of how clubs are disadvantaged by Fifa rules."

Fifa are unable to comment on the action as a spokesman confirmed it is not its policy to discuss active legal issues until a court judgement had been reached.

It is the second time G14 has thrown its weight behind a club's calls for financial compensation.

The group is supporting Charleroi's legal fight for financial help after Abdelmajid Oulmers was hurt playing for Morocco.

Under Fifa regulations, it is mandatory for clubs to release players for international matches which appear on the Fifa calendar, including friendlies.

The issue has caused controversy in the past as clubs, who pay the players' wages, fear losing players to injury.

Sir Alex Ferguson threatened to prevent his Manchester United players from joining England's tour of the US in May.

This season Arsenal's Gael Clichy fractured his foot playing for France while Barcelona's Mark van Bommel was injured during Holland duty.

Both clubs, who are part of G14, have since decided not to seek compensation.


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