The European Club Association logo is shown during a press conference. Courtesy of ECA website.
The European Club Association said it renewed its working accord with FIFA through 2030, which also could lead to clubs having a say in managing commercial deals for the revamped Club World Cup that is scheduled to start in 2025.
Part of the agreement, which missed a target to be signed in December at the World Cup in Qatar, ensures clubs worldwide will share $355 million of FIFA’s income from each of the next two editions of the men’s World Cup. FIFA conservatively budgeted to earn at least $11 billion from 2023-26.
Clubs shared $209 million from each of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, with money paid on a daily rate for the time players spent away with their national teams.
The 70% raise from FIFA coincides with a 50% increase in the number of players at the 2026 World Cup, which will be the first with 48 teams instead of 32.
The “Memorandum of Understanding” was agreed to on the sidelines of the ECA biannual assembly in Budapest, Hungary. It was brokered by ECA chairman Nasser al-Khelaïfi, the Qatari president of Paris Saint-Germain, and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
The deal promises some stability in the often volatile world of soccer politics, and should bind clubs into respecting the FIFA-managed calendar of national team games and tournaments.
The calendar, which mandates when clubs must release players who are selected for national team squads, was confirmed and extended by FIFA at meetings in Rwanda two weeks ago.
FIFA and the ECA will work together on a revamped, 32-team Club World Cup to be played every four years starting in 2025. Securing cooperation with Europe was essential to its launch with 12 European teams taking part.
The format, broadcasting and sponsorship details for the tournament have yet to be decided.
Al-Khelaïfi said talks with FIFA were planned “on potential structures for managing the commercial rights going forward.”
Real Madrid and Chelsea already earned their places in the 2025 Club World Cup as the Champions League winners in the past two seasons. The next two Champions League winners also will get places. UEFA's ranking of European clubs will decide other entries with a national quota of two teams.
The ECA was created in 2008 in a peace deal with FIFA and UEFA that shut down the elite G-14 group of storied clubs and pending legal cases. The new group got recognition in exchange for giving clubs a more democratic voice and with payments from World Cup and European Championship tournament revenues.
The ECA membership is set to grow from about 240 to 330, Al-Khelaïfi said on Monday, with around 100 more clubs affiliated at a lower tier. Executive board seats are also being promised to women's clubs.
Those moves follow a potential challenge to ECA's status as sole representation for teams from the Union of European Clubs. It announced a launch last year to give more voice to lower-level clubs.
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