Newcastle Are Already in England’s Top 5

The Independent is reporting today that Newcastle United will take their place at the top of European football tomorrow, as the new European Club Association (ECA) conducts their first general assembly in Switzerland.


Newcastle United are England’s 5th representatives on ECA – with the top 4

The meeting will last a couple of days and the organization has been created to represent football clubs in Europe and has replaced the G14 forum, which initially included Europe’s top 14 clubs.  Newcastle was not included in G14.

Under the UEFA ranking system, England are entitled to send five clubs, and Newcastle United have been selected for the 5th spot behind the big four of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

We’re not sure why Newcastle were chosen, but it may be because we’ve had more European games than any other club in England, other than the top 4 teams – over the last 10 years or so.

Scotland have three places allocated and Hearts will join Celtic and Rangers in representing the Scottish League.

There are a total of 103 clubs represented in the association, which will represent all of UEFA’ 53 football associations, and each association will have at least one representative.

Michel Platini, who is the EUFA President, had the G14 set of clubs disbanded, and replaced it with this ECA (European Clubs Association).  Karl-Heinz Rummenigge from Beyern Munich, is the chairman-designate, and he will be confirmed when the body convenes for the first time tomorrow and Tuesday.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, of Bayern Munich, says the organisation does not support FIFA’s “six plus five” proposal.

That’s a scheme by which teams can field a maximum of five foreigners, but the ECA are backing UEFA’s version, in which clubs must include eight “home-grown” players in their squad for European competitions next season.

This is exactly what Newcastle will be doing in the future, developing their own players from a young age, just like Arsenal have done so successfully over the last 10 years or so.

Chelsea, Manchester United and Rangers from Britain were among the 16 founding members of the association, which was created in January.

Chelsea’s chief executive Peter Kenyon has been on the transitional board since that time, and the 15-strong executive board will be elected tomorrow, and will have at least on English representative on it.

The ECA has already won important some important concessions for European clubs in the continuing conflict with the demands made by international football.

  1. International matches will eventually be switched from Wednesday to Tuesday, which will allow players to return to their club teams earlier, and be ready for the following weekend game.
  2. International players based in Europe will not have to take part in more than one friendly game for their country, when those games are played on other continents.
  3. The ECA has forced UEFA to pay clubs whose players appear in a European Championship or World Cup.

The first two will, at least, have an impact on our African four at Newcastle, Mark Viduka and new boy – Argentine International, Jonas Gutierrez.

Arsène Wenger of Arsenal, as one example, has been concerned for a long time about players from South America or Africa being forced to make long journeys for friendlies and returning too late to prepare properly for the next domestic game.

Newcastle had lots of concerns a few seasons ago with Nobby Solano on that score, which never pleased Bobby Robson, who was then manager of the club.

The African Nations Cup, which takes place in January every two years, and upsets many leading clubs, including a number from the English Premier League, like Newcastle, will now start 2 weeks earlier in 2010.

That will help European clubs who have a mid-winter break, but of course that will not help English clubs at all.

The clubs will be paid at the rate of around €4K (£3.2K) per player per day, and that amounts to a grand total of around £34.4M which UEFA will give over to clubs, who had players participating in the recent Euro 2008.

Liverpool, as an example, with four players in the winning Spain squad for a month, should receive almost £400K.

The concern UEFA had with G14, was at some stage the clubs in the G14 would break away on their own and form an elite European League, if they did not get a change of format for the Champions’ League, in addition to UEFA payments to clubs, for their international players.

Newcastle may not be the 5th best team in the Premier League right now, we’ll have to wait until next May for that.   😀

But they are already among the elite 5 clubs who will now represent England’s club’s interests in Europe.