Liverpool’s greed could destroy World Cup

Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon has called on FIFA to compensate Europe’s top clubs for providing players for the next World Cup in Germany with a share of profits from the tournament – which could amount to £40million.

Kenyon was speaking in Brussels in his role as a vice-president of the G-14 group which represents 18 of Europe’s richest clubs.

In return for money from the 2006 World Cup, G-14 is offering to drop its opposition to FIFA’s controversial Confederations Cup – being staged in France in June – and the Club World Championship planned for 2005.

Kenyon said:

‘We accept that the Confederations Cup, for example, is contracted and will happen as planned but we think there is a way we can work with FIFA.

‘It’s also inevitable, given the way the game is organised, that all these issues will be linked together.’

The issue of compensation for national team call-ups has long been a burning grievance with the G-14 group, which also includes Arsenal and Liverpool – represented at today’s meeting by David Dein and Rick Parry respectively.

‘At the moment the only ones who do not benefit from the huge revenues of the World Cup finals are the clubs who provide the players,’ added Michael van Praag of Ajax, the other vice-president of G-14.

‘We take all the risks because we get the players back demotivated, tired and injured.

‘We also have to pay their salaries and insurance while they are away playing for someone else for up to six weeks, when you take into account tournament preparation.’

The clubs agreed a secret formula to be put to the FIFA president Sepp Blatter, with whom G-14 held an initial exploratory meeting on the issue last month.

Sources suggested the clubs want a 20 per cent cut of the World Cup profits – which topped £140million at South Korea and Japan last year.

Such a slice would have represented a share of almost £30million for all the clubs who provided players to the finalists.

The G-14 clubs also welcomed a re-negotiation of Champions League media rights, which opens the way for them to screen match action via internet sites and club TV channels from next season.

UEFA has already warned of a cut in prize money next year because of TV rights slippage and removal of the second round group phase.

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