David Owen: Will Club Protection Programme hand wealthy a bigger slice of the cake?

It was on 23 June 1998 – Sepp Blatter’s 15th day as FIFA President – that it started to dawn on me that the governing body was probably going to have to do something about compensating clubs for players injured on international duty.

In just the fourth minute of what turned out to be a drab group match between Italy and Austria in the Stade de France, Alessandro Nesta, the elegant Lazio and Azzurri central defender, went down and quickly waved for assistance, his World Cup over.

Some days later, an official at a leading European club with several players in action at France 98, summarised the situation like this: “There cannot be many organisations that are willing to give up assets worth millions of pounds without getting anything back and with a chance they may come back damaged.”

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