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Soccer-Rummenigge rejects EC proposals on transfer reforms

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

BERLIN, March 1 (Reuters) - European Commission (EC) proposals to reform soccer's transfer system have been rejected by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, president of the association which represents more than 200 clubs.

Former West Germany striker Rummenigge, who is also Bayern Munich's chief executive, said political attempts to interfere in football had been catastrophic and described the Bosman ruling as an own goal.

"I must publicly and honestly say that all the decisions in the last 20 years, where politics and football have met, have been catastrophic for football," he told the Tageszeitung Muenchen and Muenchner Merkur newspapers.

"Football does not need any corrections," said Rummenigge who is president of the European Clubs Association (ECA).

In a report last month the EC said the transfer system needed to be reformed to allow a fairer distribution of wealth in the game.

It said the current system benefitted only the richest players and their agents and the biggest clubs.

The report made a number of proposals including a "fair play levy" to be placed on transfers to encourage better re-distribution of funds.

However, Rummenigge said the problems were started by the 1995 Bosman ruling in the first place.

FEES BARRED

In a case taken by Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman, the European Court of Justice barred transfer fees for players out of contract and removed the limit on the number of foreign players a club can field.

Players across Europe have since cashed in, moving clubs for free when their contracts expired.

Teams responded by offering top players longer and more lucrative contracts to ensure they retained their prize assets.

"I still have trouble digesting it," said Rummenigge of the Bosman ruling. "There has never been a more negative influence on the game.

"It was the Bosman ruling which caused transfer fees to explode. Before that we had the perfect system in football.

"The players and their advisers are still rubbing their hands and the clubs and associations have had to foot the bill," added Rummenigge.

He blamed the ruling for the difficulties faced by clubs from smaller countries in competing with those from the bigger leagues such as Spain's La Liga, the English Premier League and the German Bundesliga.

"Once, clubs from Belgium and the Netherlands could reach an international final but that is no longer possible today," said Rummenigge. "That was where politics scored an own goal."

His comments came one day after Juergen Klopp, coach of Bayern's rivals Borussia Dortmund, said the Bavarian club had been trying to spend their way to success.

"At the moment it's a bit like what the Chinese do in industry," said Klopp. "They look at what the others are doing and they imitate it but with more money and different players." (Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Tony Jimenez)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130301/soccer-rummenigge-rejects-ec-proposals-transfer-reforms