European soccer’s governing body UEFA has unveiled a renewed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the European Club Association (ECA) that runs until 2030.
The relationship between the two bodies – both based in Switzerland – now lasts for more than 15 years, with a long-term MOU extension having first been mooted last September.
A central part of the new MOU is a new system for revenue distribution across all member clubs in the ECA representative body, put in place for the 2024-27 commercial cycle – with the format of the top-tier UEFA Champions League (UCL) to substantially change in 2024-25.
The number of participating teams in next season's UCL will increase from 32 to 36, with each side in the initial group stages to play eight games, up from six at present.
From 2024-25, the share of revenue distributed to teams not participating in the league phase of UEFA competitions will increase to 10%, equivalent to €1.32 billion over the course of the three-year cycle and €440 million per season.
The new system will give greater focus on participation – increasing the percentage shared equally from 25% to 27.5% – and performance, which will increase in terms of share from 30% to 37.5%.
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Two pillars of the current model, meanwhile, will decrease in terms of the revenue share allocated through them – market pool and coefficient. They will merge, and be reduced from 45% overall to 35%.
UEFA has said the new system boasts “an unprecedented increase of solidarity payments that will benefit clubs in domestic league competitions.”
As of the 2022-23 season, the ECA had 330 member clubs.
Both parties signed a letter of intent regarding an MOU until 2030 in late September last year.
The new MOU comes six months after the ECA struck a same-length deal with world soccer’s governing body FIFA. That deal covers a commitment by clubs to adhere to FIFA’s new international match calendar for the next seven years, the ECA committing to support FIFA’s enlarged Club World Cup from 2025, and support for the creation of a Women’s Club World Cup.
In announcing the new MOU, UEFA said the extended tie-up with the ECA “aligns the cooperative efforts of both organizations with the evolving landscape of the men’s and women’s international match calendar and the forthcoming structural changes to men’s UEFA club competitions.”
UEFA has said the MOU also “captures the evolution of UEFA Club Competitions SA,” the joint venture created with the ECA in September 2021 to increase cooperation when it comes to the running of European soccer.
The UEFA statement also stated that the new agreement “mirrors the remarkable strides taken in the development of women’s soccer. UEFA and the ECA are united in their drive to … enhance competitions, and … establish the bedrock for a resilient and sustainable women’s soccer ecosystem and business model.”
Aleksander Ceferin, president of UEFA, said: “This new MOU builds upon the solid foundation of cooperation between UEFA and the ECA to enhance the open and values-based European soccer pyramid celebrated by fans worldwide. It will bring continuity, stability, and healthy growth that will benefit every corner of Europe.”
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the ECA’s chair (and also president of French soccer champions Paris Saint-Germain), added: “The MOU formalizes agreements between UEFA and ECA on a wide range of governance, representation, regulatory, financial and sporting matters and establishes solid foundations for the continued development of European club soccer.”