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Clubs Set for Battle Over Pay

Times Staff Writer

Europe’s most powerful clubs are bracing for a showdown with FIFA and UEFA, the international and European sanctioning bodies, over what they claim is their right to financial compensation when their players participate in such tournaments as the World Cup and the European Championship.

Former German international Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of Bayern Munich and vice-chairman of the G-14 -- a group representing Europe’s 18 leading clubs -- Monday threatened legal action if the group’s demands were not met.

Speaking in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday, Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, FIFA’s president, dismissed the compensation idea.

“FIFA will never make direct payments to individual clubs or players.” Blatter said. “It is up to the [national] associations to deal with these matters when distributing the income they receive from these events.”

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But Rummenigge said Monday that G-14 was prepared to take the issue to the European Court of Justice if necessary.

“If Mr. Blatter sticks to his position, we will take legal action,” he said in Munich. “The legal analysis [G-14’s clubs] have asked for concludes that we have to release our players, but we don’t have to do it for free.

“What we’re talking about is less than 10% of the total revenue of FIFA. We, the clubs, don’t want to make a profit out of this, but we want fair compensation.”

Cha Takes Charge

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Cha Bum-Keun, South Korea’s most successful player and former national team coach, was named coach of the Suwon Blue Wings of the K-League.

The Korean club, a two-time Asian champion, said it had chosen Cha because of his knowledge of European soccer, gained during 10 years as a player in the German Bundesliga, and the experience he gained as a national team player and later as coach of South Korea.

Terms of his three-year contract were not revealed.

Olympic Boycott

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Four clubs in France are refusing to release players to take part in Olympic qualifying matches for their respective African countries over the next few months and other French teams are expected to follow suit.

The clubs -- Sochaux, Lille, Metz and Nancy -- claim that at least half a dozen African nations have scheduled the qualifying games outside the dates permitted on FIFA’s international calendar and that the players are needed to play in French league and Cup games.

“These qualifiers fall every time when league matches are played,” Patric Razurel, Metz’s sporting director, told Reuters. “It’s annoying.

“We have asked the French football federation to be our intermediary with FIFA to find a solution, although it’s not FIFA that organizes these games, it’s the International Olympic Committee.”

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Ferguson Fined

Sir Alex Ferguson, coach of Manchester United, was banned for two games and fined $16,000 by England’s Football Association (F.A.) for a tirade he directed at a match official during his team’s 2-1 victory at Newcastle United in August.

Ferguson was found “guilty of improper conduct and abusive and/or insulting language to a match official,” according to a statement released by the F.A.

Quick Passes

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Roberto Carlos, Real Madrid’s World Cup-winning defender, denied reports that he had been offered $6 million a year to join Chelsea.

Borussia Dortmund’s German international defender Christophe Metzelder, sidelined since March because of an Achilles’ tendon problem, will have further surgery and is expected to be out for three more months.

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Times wire services contributed to this report.

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