The European Club Association’s (ECA) chief executive Charlie Marshall has insisted that historically successful European soccer clubs should still receive a bigger share of the Uefa Champions League’s TV revenue.
Uefa’s current model allocates 30 per cent of the tournament’s prize money based on a club’s historical performance in European competitions over the past ten seasons. With format changes set to be made to the Champions League from 2024 onwards, smaller teams and the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) group have also called for the financial distribution system to be altered.
However the ECA, which represents 245 leading European soccer clubs, differs in its viewpoint on the issue. Marshall, the organisation’s chief executive, believes that the existing model works well and does not need to be scrapped going forward, despite having previously admitted the sport is in need of reform.
“There is a place for [the coefficient ranking]. It is so fundamental to the whole construction of the European football pyramid from top through the middle to the bottom,” Marshall told The Times.
“It’s also what the ECA’s membership is based on, a four-year coefficient, so without saying about the details of how many years [the coefficient should be based on] or what percentage [of the financial split], the concept of coefficient is fundamental to the whole of European football.
“It has worked pretty well with it [coefficient distribution]. It may not have worked so well had it not been there, and it’s not enough for some.”
FSE argues that the coefficient-related payments “benefit elite clubs”, as well as widening “financial disparities” both between and within leagues.
Yet there is also a contention that the possibility of a European Super League (ESL) would become more realistic should the model be changed, as bigger clubs would be more unhappy with a smaller income.
Speaking on the issue in June, Cliff Baty, Manchester United’s chief financial officer warned that any changes would impact the club’s sustainability. He said: “Whilst I appreciate the sentiment of wanting to give more money [to smaller clubs] the pie is getting bigger. The reason the broadcasters are paying that much money is for the product, frankly at the Champions League level.
“If you’re changing the distribution and wanting more money, I think you’ve got to be careful what you’re doing there. We all know where the value is created, let’s not kid ourselves.
“From our perspective is that [the split] gives us a degree of certainty that helps in terms of sustainability, and all the discussions that are happening around financial sustainability and financial fair play in football. If you start changing that and making it more difficult for the bigger clubs to perform, it’s hard.”
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