Former German international Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has launched a scathing attack on soccer’s rulers and wants clubs to be given a bigger say in running the sport, it was reported yesterday.
Rummenigge, the chairman of the European Club Association (ECA) and chief executive of Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, told the Guardian he had lost confidence in FIFA following a string of recent corruption scandals.
The 55-year-old said ECA clubs such as Bayern, Manchester United and Real Madrid should launch a “revolution” to transform soccer if necessary.
“I don’t accept any longer that we should be guided by people who are not serious and clean,” he told the Guardian. “Now is the moment to intervene. Because knowing something is wrong is an obligation to change.”
Rummenigge said clubs around the world supported reform of soccer’s power structure.
“It’s not just the top clubs, it’s all the clubs,” he said. “Sepp Blatter is saying that he is cleaning up, but the fact that no one believes him tells you everything you need to know.”
“I’m not optimistic because they believe the system is working perfectly as it is. It’s a money machine, World Cup after World Cup. And for them, that’s more important than serious and clean governance,” he added.
Rummenigge said he doubted whether national associations would be able to change FIFA from within.
“The current system is tailor-made for the associations and voted for by the associations. They won’t go against [FIFA],” he said. “All stakeholders ... have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.”
“I will give them a chance, but I’m ready for a revolution if that’s the only way to come to a solution,” he said.
Rummenigge is also scathing of the rapid expansion of the size of tournaments like the World Cup and the European Championship.
“When I won the European Championship [in 1980], there were eight teams in the finals. That figure will treble by 2016,” he said. “In the World Cup, it used to be 16 teams, now it’s 32. The clubs pay the players, but are not part of the decision-making process. We are not treated respectfully.”
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