Zurich:UEFA is setting up a new body to represent professional soccer leagues, teams and players in a bid to end a damaging dispute with Europe's richest clubs.
"The football family needs cohesion and harmony," UEFA president Michel Platini told representatives of UEFA's 53 national soccer associations Monday. "We have heard the complaints of the clubs, and answered their needs."
Platini, elected in January on a platform of uniting soccer's squabbling factions, wants the "Professional Football Strategy Council" to replace the powerful G14 which represents Europe's 18 richest clubs.
"I call on the major and important clubs in European football to disband their elitist grouping, to withdraw the lawsuits that they have brought before the courts, and to join together with all the other clubs to engage in a fruitful, productive and democratic dialogue," Platini said.
Belgian side Sporting Charleroi, backed by G14, is currently seeking damages from FIFA after one of its players was injured during national squad service and sidelined for eight months.
The case, which is still before the European Union's highest court, is considered a test case that could challenge the authority of the sport's two main governing bodies.
"I understand how complex and difficult the management of a high-level club is," Platini said. "We need to reform our system so that minor crises do not lead to major financial disasters."
The Professional Football Strategy Council will comprise UEFA's vice presidents, and four representatives each from clubs, leagues and players. It will report directly to UEFA's executive committee.
Platini's appeal for clubs to work with football's governing bodies echoed that of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who on Sunday asked the G-14 for "dialogue, not confrontation."
Also Monday, UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said investigations were continuing into the melee in Athens on Wednesday night when Greek riot police used tear gas and batons on fans ahead of the Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan.
Some Liverpool fans with no tickets and others with fake tickets managed to get into the Olympic Stadium, while other fans with real tickets were blocked from entering. Gaillard earlier blamed bad behavior by some Liverpool fans.
"(There's) no doubt that something needs to be done," Gaillard said. "But we will never get rid of fake tickets completely."