FIFA–awash with cash–to give clubs $209M from World Cup fund

GENEVA—Soccer clubs around the world were invited by FIFA on Tuesday to apply for money from a fund of $209 million set aside for teams that release players for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Clubs get paid a daily rate—which FIFA estimates at about $10,000—for as long as 832 players selected for the 32 rosters are on national team duty ahead of and during the tournament.The preparation period starts November 14 and the tournament ends on December 18.

The $209 million fund, agreed to by FIFA and the European Club Association in 2015, also rewards clubs who helped develop World Cup players. Each player’s share of the fund is distributed among the clubs he played for in the past two years.

FIFA said more than 400 clubs playing in 63 different member countries were paid shares from the $209 million fund allocated from the 2018 World Cup commercial revenues.

The “Club Benefits Program” was created in a 2008 deal for FIFA to recognize the newly launched ECA as a more democratic representative of teams’ interests.

European teams typically employ about 75 percent of the players who go to the World Cup.

FIFA paid $40 million into the fund for players who went to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and it was $70 million four years later for the tournament in Brazil.

Clubs are set to get a bigger share from the 2026 World Cup, which will have about 50 percent more players in an expanded 48-team tournament.

FIFA’s revenue from sponsorship, ticket sales and corporate hospitality is also set to rise sharply for the 2026 edition, which will be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

A similar payment scheme is run by UEFA for the European Championship, which was worth €200 million ($194 million) for the tournament played last year.

Chelsea got the biggest share of €5.1 million ($5 million) from the Euro 2020 fund, which also rewarded clubs whose players were called up for qualifying games.

SITES FOR VIEWING PARTIES FOR FIFA WORLD CUP BARED

THE Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro and Dubai Harbour in the United Arab Emirates are among six locations worldwide that stage fan festivals during the World Cup in Qatar.

Mexico City’s Plaza de la República, São Paulo’s Anhangabaú Valley, and downtown nightclub venues in London and Seoul, South Korea, also will host official game viewing parties and music events.

Organizers have also hired electronic music events from Saudi Arabia and England to perform during the tournament.

The events will “only be open to consumers of legal drinking age” at the venues co-organized by FIFA and long-time World Cup sponsor AB InBev, which brews the Budweiser, Corona and Brahma brands. AP

Entry to some events will be free and some will have an entry charge, FIFA said in a statement on Monday. FIFA also revealed more details of music events planned in Qatar during the November 20 to December 18 tournament.

The electronic music festival Aravia, run by a Saudi Arabian events organizer, will be staged at a 5,500-capacity site at Al Wakrah.

The Arcadia Spectacular event, staging DJs beneath a fire-breathing, giant metal spider structure, has been a feature of the storied Glastonbury music and culture summer festival in England. It will be on a 15,000-capacity site at nearby Ras Bu Fontas, also close to Doha’s new international airport next to the Persian Gulf.

Qatari World Cup officials and the music promoters have not detailed ticket prices for their World Cup shows.

The main fan festival site for watching the 64 tournament games is at Al Bidda Park on the southern tip of the Corniche waterfront.

Qatar has relaxed some restrictions on where and when alcohol can be consumed in the emirate so that AB InBev beers can be sold at official fan parties and game viewing areas.

Image credits: AP