Monday 6 September 2021 5:00 pm

European Club Association boss Al-Khelaifi promises loan fund for clubs hit by pandemic, Financial Fair Play shake-up and Uefa joint venture

Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the chairman of the European Club Association, has outlined a series of measures that he says will bring “urgent financial stability” to the game across the continent.

Al-Khelaifi, also the president of Paris Saint-Germain and chairman of the beIN Media Group, promised a multi-billion Euro loan facility and new Financial Fair Play rules imminently.

He also doubled down on criticism of the failed European Super League project and condemned proposals to stage the World Cup every other year.

“The first priority is to bring urgent financial stability to European football,” Al-Khelaifi told the ECA’s general assembly in Geneva.

“Even before Covid, many financial problems affected football. However, the pandemic has magnified them all.”

The ECA, which represents 247 clubs across Europe, has worked with European governing body Uefa on plans for a debt fund, Al-Khelaifi added.

The loan facility would be made available to clubs that have qualified for the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League and could run to €6m (£5m), according to reports.

“We know the need from our members is significant; and we have fought strongly for this project,” he added.

Al-Khelaifi confirmed an overhaul of FFP rules, widely expected to see a salary cap and luxury tax replace the current break-even calculation.

“New Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations will be put in place with the objective for European club football to remain at the pinnacle of sport and entertainment, but while also ensuring a stable, sustainable, inclusive and competitive football pyramid,” he said.

Beyond that, the ECA wants to form a joint venture with Uefa that controls the commercial rights of its club competitions.

The arrangement would “better optimise revenues from club competitions”, said Al-Khelaifi, “resulting in new and better commercial rights strategies and management”.  

The ECA will also work with Uefa “maximise value” from the Champions League once its new “Swiss model” format takes effect in 2024, he added.

Nine of the so-called “dirty dozen” clubs – including all six English teams – who signed up to and quickly stood down from the European Super League attempted breakaway earlier this year re-joined the ECA last month.

Al-Khelaifi mocked the “not-so-super league” and called its orchestrators “fabulists and failures”.

He added that the three clubs still pursuing the plans and challenging Uefa through the European courts, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus continued to “waste energies, twist narratives and shout at the sky”.

The Qatari also addressed the escalating row between Uefa and Fifa over the latter’s hopes of increasing the frequency of World Cups to every other year.

Al-Khelaifi called it “the most urgent” of challenges, adding “this needs honest engagement, not unilateral and self-interested decisions”.

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