Football: Fifa to pay clubs $470 million for sending players to 2026, 2030 World Cups

ECA chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi said the MOU recognises the central role of clubs in football globally. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ZURICH – Fifa’s compensation to be paid to clubs who release players for the men’s World Cup has been increased by nearly 70 per cent to US$355 million (S$472.7 million) for the 2026 and 2030 tournaments, the global football governing body and the European Club Association (ECA) said on Monday.

The Club Benefits Programme affords clubs a share of national team competition revenues in return for releasing players and also protects clubs in case their players are injured on international duty.

The previous amount earmarked for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was US$209 million. A renewed memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed on Monday at the ECA General Assembly in Budapest, Hungary.

“We are delighted to have signed this landmark agreement,” said ECA chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who is also the chair of Qatar Sports Investments and the president of French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

“The MOU recognises the central role of clubs in football globally and ensures that they are properly represented in decision making around issues which affect them.”

Earlier in March, Fifa had announced that a 32-team Club World Cup will be played every four years from June 2025, replacing its annual competition which featured seven teams.

The decision was met with opposition from leagues such as Spain’s La Liga but the MOU will now have both Fifa and the ECA working together on its various sporting and commercial aspects for the 2025 edition.

“Fifa and ECA will also now establish closer working practices on a future new Club World Cup... and working together on future editions including potential structures for managing the commercial rights going forward,” Al-Khelaifi added.

“We look forward to working closely with Fifa over the coming months and years to ensure that the benefits of new and expanded competitions in both men’s and women’s football are properly shared across the ecosystem.”

Fifa also announced a newly structured international calendar which its president Gianni Infantino – who was re-elected earlier in March for another four years unopposed – said had been endorsed by the ECA.

“To have the new international match calendar endorsed by ECA provides the necessary balance between club and national team football,” the Swiss-Italian said.

“This is a significant day for the future of football and its long-term stability. We are very happy to renew and strengthen our cooperation agreement with ECA, an important stakeholder representing clubs from all over Europe.

“We have exciting projects ahead, including the new Fifa Club World Cup in 2025 and the new Fifa women’s Club World Cup. A close collaboration with clubs in Europe, and the rest of the world, will be essential for the success of those events.” REUTERS

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