- 65% growth in ECA membership over past 5 months
- Six countries now count 100% ECA membership of top tier men’s clubs
- New UEFA and FIFA Club Competitions and benefits for clubs
Following the first ever meeting of the European Club Association (ECA) Executive Committee yesterday, the ECA Board today conducted its final in-person meeting of the year in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Led by ECA Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, the Board meeting covered a large number of topics, many linked to the composition of critical ECA and stakeholder governance bodies, following the wide-reaching reforms to ECA’s governance passed at the General Assembly in Berlin.
Ahead of the Board meeting, ECA Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi met with the Danish Minister for Culture Mr. Jakob Engel-Schmidt, in a constructive and open dialogue on ECA’s role and collaborations for the benefit of Danish and European football.
Attending the opening of ECA’s Board meeting, Claus Thomsen, CEO of the Danish League, spoke of a “period of collaboration” in the common interests of European clubs and leagues.
ECA Membership Growth
Top of the agenda for the Board meeting was ECA’s member engagement and expansion strategy. This has seen a rapid growth of ECA membership which has increased by over 65% since the start of the 2023-27 cycle in July. ECA now counts over 450 clubs as members of the ECA Family – a number that will continue to push beyond the 500 mark and towards 700, under ECA’s commitment to further inclusivity and a strong growth strategy.
There are now six countries where 100% of the clubs in their top division are members of ECA namely: Türkiye (which was the first country to achieve 100% ECA market share) Azerbaijan, Estonia, Liechtenstein, Moldova and Finland, with many more top divisions expected to reach 100% membership soon.
ECA Working Groups
The Board officially approved the composition of the eight ECA Working Groups that will drive the work undertaken by the clubs in the eight workstreams during the current four-year cycle. The eight working groups comprise over 200 individuals from 110 clubs, representing over 40 countries and with a 23% female representation.
Kick-off meetings for these working groups were held in Geneva in November and reports on these first meetings were given. You can read the full list of working groups members here.
UEFA Women’s Club Competitions post-2025
The Board highly commended the reforms to the UEFA Women’s Club Competitions from the 2025/26 season as recently announced by UEFA. These will see an expansion of the UEFA Women’s Champions League from 16 to 18 teams with a new league phase format, plus the introduction of a second women’s club competition for 44 clubs played in a straight knockout format allowing more clubs to participate in European competitions. Further reaction to this significant achievement will be published shortly.
Pursuant to the MoU in place between ECA and FIFA, the Board gave its endorsement to the important work being done at global level on topics such as the Club Benefits Programme (whereby $355m from each of the next two FIFA Men’s World Cups, up from $209m in the previous editions) will be distributed to clubs around the world releasing players for the tournaments and the new men’s and women’s FIFA Club World Cups.
The Board also took note of recent developments around the FIFA Football Agent Regulations, highlighting a number of concerns for clubs and the central ongoing role of ECA in working with FIFA to continue to promote an effective regulatory framework.
ECA Representation on UEFA Committees
The ECA representative seats on UEFA Committees, following ratification at the UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Hamburg, Germany, on 2 December, are as follows:
UEFA Club Competitions Committee
- Jokin Aperribay, Real Sociedad de Fútbol
- Ali Y. Koç, Fenerbahçe SK
- Damien Comolli, Toulouse FC
- Lina Souloukou, AS Roma
- Erik van Spanje, AFC Ajax
- Pablo Longoria, Olympique de Marseille
- Fernando Carro, Bayer 04 Leverkusen
- Rebecca Caplehorn, Tottenham Hotspur
- Wanja Greuel, BSC Young Boys
- Snorre Strand, Molde FK
- Dariusz Mioduski, Legia Warszawa
- Daniel Rommedahl, FC Copenhagen
- Pál Orosz, Ferencvarosi TC
- Aki Riihilahti, HJK Helsinki
- Asif Asgarov, Qarabağ FK
- Kuno Tehva, Nõmme Kalju FC
UEFA Club Licensing Committee
- Michael Verschueren, IBM
UEFA Development and Technical Assistance Committee
- Christian Gentile, Djurgardens IF
UEFA Football Committee
- Simão Sabrosa, SL Benfica
UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee
- Philipp Heßberger, Eintracht Frankfurt
UEFA Legal Committee
- Martin Říha, SK Slavia Praha
UEFA Marketing Advisory Committee
- Michael Meeske, VfL Wolfsburg
UEFA Media Committee
- Phil Lynch, Manchester United
UEFA Medical Committee
- Hakim Chalabi, Paris St-Germain
UEFA Player Status, Transfer & Agents and Match Agents Committee
- Serhii Palkin FC, Shakhtar Donetsk
UEFA Stadium and Security Committee
- Bruno Hütter, SK Sturm Graz
UEFA Women's Football Committee
- Olivier Blanc, Olympique Lyonnais
- Bianca Rech, FC Bayern München
UEFA Youth and Amateur Committee
- Zeb Jacobs, Rangers FC
Also in attendance to present at the Board meeting was Axel Hellmann, Special Envoy to the ECA Chairman and CEO of Eintracht Frankfurt, whose role is to support the ECA Board in fast-tracking its strategic priority of further sustainable member growth for ECA.
Commenting after the Board, ECA Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi said:
"ECA’s first ever Executive Committee meeting yesterday, together with the meeting of our new expanded 37-member Board today, are further visible outcomes of the major governance reforms that are driving forward ECA’s expansion which is based on openness, collective interests and giving every club a voice. Since we changed our statutes, we have seen unparalleled growth in ECA’s membership, which is now approaching 500 clubs and will only continue to grow as we move towards representing all first division clubs in Europe.
“ECA is also proud of the reforms to the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the introduction of a second women’s club competition. This is another significant step forward for women’s clubs who now have a greater opportunity to experience European football. The rapid development of the women’s competition landscape is testament to the strong partnership and collaborative efforts of ECA and UEFA.”
For media inquiries or further information, please contact:
Robert Faulkner, ECA Director of Communications and Marketing