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Top European Football Clubs Vow to Boycott World Club Championship - 2004-03-16


Europe's most powerful football (soccer) clubs have vowed to boycott the World Club Championship tournament next year.

The sport's world governing body, FIFA, plans to resurrect the competition between clubs from all six continents. But at a meeting in Spain Tuesday, a coalition of Europe's strongest clubs, known as the G-14, voted against participating. The president of the German club Bayern Munich said there are already enough games on the schedule, and that "no club from the G-14 will participate" in the FIFA competition.

The champions of Africa, Asia, CONCACAF and Oceania regions would play in a first-round knockout, with the two winners advancing to meet the top European and South American clubs. The new tournament is expected to eliminate the long established Intercontinental Cup between the European and South American champions.

The G-14 also said it had agreed unanimously to press ahead with its demand for financial compensation from FIFA and European football's governing body, UEFA, for releasing players for national team duty. The G-14 said it is planning to launch a legal challenge before Swiss competition authorities in the next few weeks.

The G-14, which was formed in 1998 as a loose coalition, became an association in 2001. It originally consisted of 14 clubs - Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool, Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Marseille, Paris St. Germain, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and FC Porto. Last year, it expanded to 18 by adding Valencia, Arsenal, Bayer Leverkusen and Olympique Lyon. Some information for this report provided by AP.

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