ECA put 2012 Olympic football in doubt
Another row is brewing over next year's 2012 Olympic football tournament, with Europe's top clubs insisting their players must not be forced to compete in more than one major competition per season.
The European Club Association, 136 of whose 197 members attended their general assembly in Geneva, says expecting its leading performers to take part in Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland, followed quickly by the London Games, is asking too much.
Debate is already raging about whether Great Britain will be represented at London 2012 by a cross-section of players from all four national home associations or just from England. Now games organisers have another hurdle to overcome.
ECA vice-president Umberto Gandini feels the time scale between the two summer tournaments is too short to expect clubs to release elite players for both events.
"We do not think it is appropriate that European players will play in the European championship and then some of the same players will be involved in the Olympics in London a few weeks later," he said.
"It does not make sense for a club player to be involved in two major tournaments in such a short period of time. We have appealed to UEFA to say that if a player is selected for Euro 2012, he should not be selected for the Olympics.
"As the Olympics are not part of the international calendar we are going to face the same situation we did in 2008 where there will be requests for release of players where the clubs have other activities going on. We hope we can discuss this without getting into conflict as we did in 2008."
Manchester United chief executive David Gill, an ECA board member, agreed.
"A player who is in the squad for Euro 2012 should not then be in the Olympic squad," Gill said. "Football is a key part of the Olympics and we are very happy to participate as a league and release players, and we support it - but I hope that common sense will prevail."
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