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Last Updated: Monday, 20 March 2006, 15:28 GMT
Fifa set for Charleroi court case
Abdelmajid Oulmers
Oulmers missed eight months after being injured playing for Morocco
Belgian club Charleroi are taking world governing body Fifa to court in a case that may change the game forever.

Charleroi, backed by G14 - which represents the world's richest clubs - are claiming compensation over a player injured in an international match.

Moroccan Abdelmajid Oulmers was out for eight months after playing against Burkina Faso in November 2004.

A meeting between Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Charleroi chairman Abbas Bayat failed to find an agreement.

The G14 group represents 18 of Europe's most powerful clubs and they are supporting Charleroi in their bid for compensation.

A G14 spokesman told BBC Sport: "If the court rules for Charleroi the benefits apply to every club not just the G14."

Charleroi will argue in the Belgian court that the loss of Oulmers scuppered their hopes of winning their domestic league last season.

Fifa has the financial muscle to put together an insurance pool to cover players injured
A spokesman for G14

They eventually finished fifth.

The G14 group has also joined French champions Olympique Lyon in a similar action regarding defender Eric Abidal, who broke his foot during a France friendly.

"We believe Fifa has the financial muscle to put together an insurance pool to cover players injured while on international duty," said the G14 spokesman.

Thomas Kurth, G14 general manager, said: "The current regulations are written by the federations, for the federations. Professional clubs have no direct representation on the bodies that make the rules and, not surprisingly, these regulations favour federations over clubs.

"The Oulmers case is an example of how a lack of representation can lead to rules which favour one party over another.

"G14 believes that these rules, which are imposed on all clubs without their consent, are unfair, undemocratic and must change. That is why G14 joined Royal Sporting Charleroi in the Oulmers case."

Kurth believes three major points are at issue.

He said: "Firstly, clubs and national associations should be protected from the cost of player injuries. Secondly, clubs should get some reasonable compensation for the contribution they make to international tournaments.

"Thirdly, a harmonised international calendar for club on national team football must be mutually agreed between clubs and federations."

Fifa says there is no link between the injury of Oulmers and where Charleroi finished in the league last season.

It believes national associations should reimburse clubs and it is not the responsibility of the governing body.

Fifa says 75% of the profits from major tournaments are returned to national associations which decide what to do with the money.

Depending on the outcome of the legal action, the G14 could succeed in having the case referred to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

The last major case in football to be referred to the EU court also started in Belgium and that decision had major ramifications for the game.

The "Bosman" ruling, named after a case brought by Jean-Marc Bosman, gave players the power to move freely between clubs when they were out of contract, increasing player power enormously.


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