Karl-Heinz Rummenigge announced last month that he would not stand for re-election as president of the European Club Association, a position he has held since the group’s inception in 2008. He has now officially made his farewell to his colleagues at the ECA.
In an official statement on Bayern Munich’s official website, Rummenigge spoke about her service for the ECA and remained very optimistic about the future of the organization, as it builds on everything it has already brought. in European club football:
It has been an honor to work with you. I think we did the right thing. The ECA has become a strong and fair partner for UEFA and FIFA. When we started we had visions. Today we can say with pride that in a decade ECA has accomplished more than we dared hope. And since no one has a job for life, I can leave this job with a clear conscience.
Among other achievements, Rummenigge was one of the main architects of the restructuring of the UEFA Champions League format when rumors circulated about the potential creation of an elite European super league made up of the continent’s most elite clubs – formerly known as G-14. The reformatting of the competition met the demands of Europe’s most powerful leagues while preserving representation and financial opportunities for “smaller” European clubs to qualify for Europe’s most prestigious tournament.
Rummenigge made sure to reiterate the importance of harmony between European clubs in his farewell message:
What makes me happy is that over the past ten years we have never let go of our sense of solidarity. The little ones understand the big ones, and the big ones take responsibility for the little ones. The reform of European club competitions has proven this again. Everyone will benefit from an increase in income, and we have increased solidarity payments by over 40%, from 199 million to 284 million euros. I’m proud of it.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin also expressed gratitude for Rummenigge’s service during a speech at ECA in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday – according to the UEFA website;
You [Rummenigge] have done a fantastic job since the inception of the ECA. You can be proud of yourself. You have succeeded in bringing together all the European clubs and making their voices heard to best defend their interests. Preserving the unity of European club football can hardly be considered the easiest game you have ever played, but it represents one of the greatest victories of your illustrious career.
The ECA is expected to announce a new president in just two weeks, on September 19. Juvetnus chairman Andrea Agnelli has been heavily linked as a man to replace Rummenigge, according to Fox Sports Italia.
No matter who succeeds Rummenigge, his farewell wish was as sincere as his love of the game itself:
Finally, if I can wish you a wish: Take good care of this wonderful game. We must protect it.