FIFA held its Global Summit yesterday, announcing the results of two new studies focusing on the economic impact of the biennial World Cup proposal. FIFA has yet to bring that proposal to a vote, alongside revamping the international calendar starting in 2025. As understatements go, it’s fair to say that both of those agenda items would potentially rework international soccer as we know it. As for those feasibility studies from Nielsen and OpenEconomics, the quick takeaway is that FIFA would have a lot more money to disperse to its members.
“We have been advised by independent experts that a switch to biennial FIFA World Cup would provide a combined additional $4.4 billion in revenue from the first four-year cycle, with these funds being distributed across our 211 member associations,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said. “This additional revenue would allow solidarity funding to move from the current level of $6 million per cycle to up to potentially $25 million on average per FIFA member association in the first four-year cycle, with the actual distribution being subject to FIFA’s governance principles.”
Infantino also said that the new version of international soccer economics would, “help ‘bridge the gap’ between FIFA member associations and to give as many of them a more realistic chance of playing on the global stage.” What that might mean if the financial floor rises for all member associations is an interesting question. It’s tough to come up with an answer in theory, something that may help FIFA’s push for the biennial World Cup.
What’s not likely to happen is a change in the opposition to FIFA’s plans. Reports have UEFA adding CONMEBOL to its Nations League “from 2024.” That joint European-South American competition would change the scope of the Nations League. Originally, part of the plan was that all confederations would host nations leagues of their own, advancing winners to a global version. That idea was recently raised by Concacaf president Victor Montagliani as one possibility to add a tournament rather than doubling the number of World Cups.
Last Friday, UEFA released an independent report it commissioned on the financial implications of a biennial World Cup for Europe.
“In this dark sporting context, the research conducted by Oliver & Ohlbaum projects a deeply negative outlook for European national team football, should the FIFA plan be implemented,” UEFA’s statement read. “Adding up the losses from centralized revenues (media rights of men’s European Qualifiers and Nations League; distributions from UEFA EURO) and from individual sources such as ticketing and sponsorships, revenues for European national associations might drop between €2.5 and €3 billion over a cycle of four years, depending on the number of qualifying windows available (two or just one).
UEFA’s study also focused on the proposed calendar changes, with FIFA moving all international soccer to October and then a summer tournament window. They ticked off the boxes for the obvious problems, bringing players into a national team setup, injuries, and what happens to non-internationals during the proposed October window. All are excellent questions as member associations decide what happens next with international soccer.
Moving to the soccer scores, Yunus Musah subbed on in the 89th minute of Valencia’s 4-3 win at Levante in La Liga. Trailing 2-0 from goals in the 21st and 24th, Valencia’s Goncalo Guedes scored in the 44th and Carlos Soler equalized from the penalty spot in the 50th. Soler scored again in the 72nd and Guedes got his second goal in the 85th. Levante pulled a goal back a minute into stoppage time. Both teams finished a man down five minutes into stoppage time, with Uros Racic seeing red for Valencia. Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson’s Fulham lost 1-0 at home to Sheffield United in the Championship. Sheffield United scored in the 3rd minute. Robinson subbed out in the 69th.
Also in the soccer news, USMNT alum CJ Brown has taken an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Fire. He leaves NISA club Chicago House where he served as coach and technical director. “I am truly honored to be back with Chicago Fire and a part of Ezra Hendrickson’s coaching staff,” said Brown. “I am excited for Ezra. I know he has been working hard for this moment in his career. I am grateful to be a part of this journey with Ezra and the team.”
Conor Casey takes over as coach of USL Championship club the Charleston Battery. “I’ve been very fortunate to have been exposed to some of the best coaches and leaders in the European and American game over the last 20 years,” he said in a press statement. “I’m excited to take those valuable experiences with me to lead this team forward.”
The Athletic’s Felipe Cardenas works through Atlas’s turnaround in Liga MX. The Guardian’s Jonathan Liew asks about the Premier League’s pandemic response. The Herald’s Aidan Smith with outdoor crowd limits in Scotland.
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) December 21, 2021
WEDNESDAY’S SOCCER TV
Super Lig on beIN Sport: Fatih Karagumruk vs Fenerbahce at 12pm. Ligue 1 on beIN Sport: Lorient vs PSG at 3pm ET.
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