Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Kicking off with Euro 2024

GENEVA (AP) – UEFA’s two-step financial plan to refill its pandemic-hit cash reserves starts with a men’s 2024 European Championship held in the home of the continent’s largest economy.

Revenue of about EUR2.5 billion is expected from broadcast and sponsor deals, and sales of tickets, hospitality packages and licensing from staging a 51-game tournament in Germany that begins on June 14 in Munich and ends on July 14 with the championship match in Berlin.

Europe’s governing football body UEFA forecast in April that close to half of its Euro 2024 income, about EUR1.2 billion, will be profit to fund much of its work and development grants for the next four years and top up its reserves.

The costs of organising the tournament include hundreds of million of euros in prize money for the 24 teams and daily-rate payments to clubs whose players are selected.

It was certainly Germany’s time to host UEFA’s marquee event – 36 years after West Germany hosted just an eight-team Euro ‘88 one year before the Berlin Wall came down – and when its executive committee members voted in September 2018 to pick the country.

The legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, was very much in UEFA thinking when a long-term plan to send Euro 2028 to be hosted in the United Kingdom and Ireland was finally confirmed in an uncontested vote last October.

Bayern Munich fans arrive to the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. PHOTO: AP
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, announces that Germany will stage the 2024 European Championships, during the Euro 2024 Host Announcement Ceremony. PHOTO: AP

A tournament anchored in England with modern stadiums generating huge match day revenues was a safe choice for UEFA eyeing its bottom line after the high-maintenance, low-revenue Euro 2020 that was played one year late in half-empty venues across 11 countries.

UEFA sets a baseline comfort level of EUR500 million in cash reserves and it stood at EUR575 million before the pandemic spread early in 2020. It fell to EUR360 million in the most recent accounts for the 2023 financial year.

“The lowest point, however, has now been reached,” UEFA finance director Josef Koller told its 55 member federations in February at their annual congress held in Paris. The men’s Euro held every four years is the foundation of UEFA’s finances and funds development payments to its members.

Even if the Champions League and other club competitions earn more money – about EUR3.5 billion this season – it goes mostly back to the clubs in prize money. UEFA’s 6.5 per cent share of so-called net revenue after deductions has been less than EUR200 million each year.

The 13 UEFA sponsors of Euro 2024 include football tournament staples Adidas and Coca-Cola, Qatar’s tourist board, plus from China two subsidiaries of Alibaba and three electronic technology firms.

UEFA typically favours free-to-air broadcasters in Europe for national-team competitions to help those games stay part of the national conversation.

In the United States games will be shown by Fox Sports in English and Spanish-language streaming service Vix. That income they provide underpins the ‘HatTrick’ programme that UEFA pays each of its member countries for building projects, operational costs plus running national teams and education.

“Each of our member associations is eligible to receive up to EUR17 million over the programme’s four-year cycle from July 2024 to June 2028,” UEFA said about its basic funding that is worth more than double what European federations get from FIFA.

Prize money of EUR331 million will be shared among the 24 national federations taking part with the champion getting EUR28.5 million if it won all its games.

Over 600 clubs, mostly in Europe but some globally including in Saudi Arabia, are set to get UEFA payments from a EUR240 million fund to pay clubs for releasing their players. UEFA said it allocated EUR140 million to cover players released for the finals tournament and EUR100 million will be distributed according to call-ups for all teams who played in two editions of the Nations League and Euro 2024 qualifying games.After Euro 2020, which had a total fund of EUR200 million, Chelsea got the biggest payment with EUR5.1 million, Manchester City received EUR4.5 million, and English clubs shared EUR47 million.