The Executive Board of the European Club Association (ECA) – representing over 240 leading clubs of Europe – concluded its meeting today, Thursday 25th August 2022, in Istanbul, Türkiye, ahead of the Men's UEFA Club Competitions (UCC) group stage draws.
The Board discussed numerous items on a packed agenda, many connected to the new cycle of European club competitions post-2024. The Board was appraised of the work undertaken by the landmark new UEFA / ECA Joint Venture, particularly the ongoing successful media rights sales processes for UEFA Men’s Club Competitions post-2024.
Following the outcome of the positive tenders in the UK and France, the Board noted the recent agreement with Paramount/CBS in the US which will generate +150% growth from the current cycle in financial terms – excluding Spanish language rights which are yet to be sold. This is the first UCC media rights deal in US which will run across two cycles for six years from 2024 to 2030, providing increased returns and stability for European club football, as well as the opportunity to attract new fans in a growing market.
Regarding the new financial distribution model post-2024, the Board reiterated its full support for the principles of solidarity and further investment across the football pyramid. With 42% of all revenues currently going to clubs and projects outside of the flagship UEFA Champions League, the Board noted the vital funds already going to all clubs in medium to small leagues thanks to ECA and UEFA – but with work to be done.
The Board recognised that with the number of clubs participating in the UCCs set to increase from 96 to 108 from 2024 onwards, the importance of rewarding and incentivising success on the pitch must remain – with more clubs to benefit. The Board also strongly agreed to work with UEFA to ensure that the UEFA Champions League continues to fund not only solidarity but also the development of the UEFA Europa League, Europa Conference League and Women’s Champions League, all vital competitions for UEFA, for ECA members and for fans across Europe.
On other issues, the Board approved the expansion of ECA’s services to a new ECA Network for another 160 ‘aspiring clubs in Europe’ based on criteria considering the last four years of European competitions and domestic performance. The ECA Network will benefit from the many services that ECA currently provides to its member clubs.
In the area of stakeholder relationships, a positive update was given on the ongoing discussions concerning renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding between ECA and FIFA. The Board agreed to strengthen its links with the confederations, noting that a letter had been sent to FIFA following the movement of the Africa Cup of Nations to January 2024.
The Board was updated on the ECA Ukraine Relief Committee’s work which to date has disbursed €680,000 from an ECA fund of €1 million to 15 projects run by member clubs assisting Ukrainian refugees.
The formation of a new ECA Sustainability Working Group was approved to be chaired by Niclas Carlnén from Malmö FF. Finally, the audited financial report for 2021/22 and the budget for 2022/23 were approved for ratification by the 28th ECA General Assembly which will take place next month in Istanbul on 22-23th September.