ZURICH (Reuters) - A package of reforms proposed by FIFA to clean up the scandal-plagued governing body of soccer was angrily criticized on Friday by Europe's powerful clubs, who said it would increase frustration among the sport's stakeholders.
The European Club Association (ECA), which represents more than 200 clubs including the major ones such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, said its members were "not prepared to be further ignored".
FIFA is in the middle of an unprecedented crisis, with criminal investigations into the sport under way in the United States and Switzerland. Its president Sepp Blatter is among officials who have been suspended by its own ethics committee.
FIFA announced a package of planned reforms on Thursday which included term limits for members. A suggestion to increase the four-yearly World Cup to 40 teams from the current 32 was put on hold.
"Given the recommendations that have now been presented, ECA was right to believe that a reform process led from within is unable to deliver a sustainable governance model, which is fit for the 21st century," the club association said in a statement.
"ECA will now take the required time to assess how it wishes to position itself in relation to this latest development leaving all options open."
Nearly all the world's top players are with European clubs and FIFA's international competitions depend on agreements which allow them to be released for their national teams on certain dates.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Andrew Roche)