UEFA, football’s European governing body, has revealed details of a new financial distribution model for its Women’s Champions League club competition, which will see €24m ($29m) redistributed to teams across the continent.
UEFA said the sum is four times greater than the current figure. The new model, which will come into effect from the 2021-22 season and run until 2025, was approved by UEFA’s Executive Committee last week and follows on from the centralisation of sponsorship and media rights for the competition from the group stage onwards.
The model will draw on the first-ever cross-subsidy from UEFA men’s club competitions to support the women’s game and UEFA investment. UEFA has also committed to redistributing 23 per cent of the total €24m available through ‘solidarity payments’ to non-participating clubs in each of Europe’s top domestic leagues represented in the Women’s Champions League. The payments must be reinvested in the development of women’s club football.
UEFA estimates that each team playing in the new group stage of the competition will receive a minimum fee of €400,000 – at least five times more than amounts paid to teams reaching the equivalent Round of 16 stage currently. Depending on their results throughout the competition, the winning team could earn up to €1.4m in rewards.
The solidarity payments distributed to non-participating clubs will be calculated according to the highest-performing clubs representing their respective domestic leagues in the Women’s Champions League. The further a club progresses, the higher the solidarity payments allocated to clubs competing in their domestic league.
UEFA president Alexander Čeferin said: “Today’s announcement represents a giant step forward for football. The competition’s new financial distribution model will strengthen the entire professional women’s game across Europe.
“It is also a perfect example of how the European sports model is central to the long-term development of football. The development of women’s football should not be driven by short-term gain but a long-term vision. Thanks to the solidarity payments at the heart of this project and the increased rewards, every last euro generated by the Women’s Champions League and even more will go back into the women’s game.”
Nadine Kessler, Uefa’s chief of women’s football, added: “After more than three years of dialogue and consultation with our national associations, clubs and the European Club Association, we would like to thank everyone involved wholeheartedly for their contributions. Each one of these changes are driven by a united vision and ensure we are all moving in the same direction – forwards.”
In September, UEFA started the sales process for centralised broadcast rights to the Women’s Champions League from 2021-22 to 2024-25. The decision to centralise all media rights from the group stage onwards was taken in December 2019, with UEFA having previously only centrally marketed rights to the final.
Under the new model, UEFA will produce coverage of every match from the new 16-team group stage for television and digital platforms.
Sponsorship rights will be partially centralised for women’s football sponsors from the group stage onwards and UEFA will announce new commercial partners ahead of the final of this season’s competition in Gothenburg next month.
UEFA and the Two Circles agency confirmed in February that they had accepted five offers for ‘Women’s Football Global Sponsorship Packages’ for the 2021-25 cycle. At the time, PepsiCo, Hublot and Visa, as well as two unnamed companies, had signed up or had offers accepted in principle.
Interested brands had until March 1 to submit offers for the one remaining package, which included the Women’s Champions League and the two international UEFA Women’s Euro competitions in the cycle.
Meanwhile, UEFA also confirmed that video assistant referees (VAR) will be used for all matches in the knockout stage of next year’s competition. VAR has previously only been deployed for the final.
UEFA has also introduced new competition regulations to better protect female players. From next season, participating clubs will have the flexibility to alter their squads in order to temporarily replace players because they are pregnant or because they leave for or return from maternity leave.