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New US Champions League deal creates problem for Al Khelaïfi and co

The juicy television rights deal divides the clubs. UEFA wants more distribution and the leaders of the ECA, chaired by the Qatari, keep a slice.

Estambul (Turquía)Update:
ISTANBUL, TURKIYE- AUGUST 25: Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Chairman and CEO of Paris Saint-Germain is seen prior to the UEFA Champions League 2022/23 Group Stage Draw at Halic Congress Centre on August 25, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkiye. (Photo by Lukas Schulze - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
Lukas Schulze - UEFAGetty

While UEFA closes new succulent television contracts in the US for its highly prized Champions League competition, the European clubs are beginning to make their moves in order to be well placed when the downpour of millions arrives. The television agreements for the trio of European competitions is at stake, and all the clubs want their share of the cake. The elite powerhouses, of course, but also the more modest ones.

PSG and the conflict of interest

The North American market has been the first to move, in a big way, with the sale by UEFA of its English rights to CBS, Viacom and Paramount. Later will come those from the rest of the world, including those from each country in Europe. It was in this tense calm that the Executive Committee of the ECA, held in Istanbul, moved, which includes the best teams in Europe - except for Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona, isolated by their decision to create a Super League.

No one wants to miss out on a good deal. The Champions League is the goose that lays the golden eggs, but, as The Times published, UEFA has the idea of making its finances between this and its other two competitions - Europa League and Conference League - more equitable. That puts at risk the income by ranking, a formula that rewards those who are season after season in European competitions. That is where the approaches collide head-on with those of the modern ‘big-boys’ of Europe.

“We cannot expect a club to pay 70 million for a player at the same time that television distribution is reduced,” an important European football leader told AS.

Al Khelaïfi’s calming profile

Among those present at the meeting, Nasser Al Khelaïfi, as president, took all the spotlight. He was affable with the rest of the leaders, but when he sat down in his easy chair he isolated himself and was constantly taking notes. The PSG chief has also been president of the ECA for just over a year, when the the European Super League affair hit and his predecessor, Agnelli, from Juventus, was removed from the post.

Another important issue, in addition to the economic one that directly affects Al Khelaïfi, is that of the possible sanction from UEFA for breaching the Financial Fair Play rule by his club and nine others, including Barça. The matter is thorny and was also the talk of the ECA Executive Committee.

The possible remodeling of the calendar, the economic accounts and the Ukrainian financial aid packages were other points of the day. In addition, they approved the creation of a working group for 160 new clubs aspiring to enter the association according to their national and international merits in the last four seasons.