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May 28, 2020

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May 23, 2020

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Football clubs which supply squad members for teams qualifying for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups can look forward to a share of a massively increased pot of $209 million (£140 million/€193 million) per tournament, FIFA disclosed in Zurich today.

The sum represents three times the $70 million (£47 million/€65 million) that was made available to employers of players at last summer's World Cup in Brazil and five times the $40 million (£27 million/€37 million) paid out for those involved in the 2010 competition in South Africa.

If the basic structure of the programme remains otherwise unchanged from prior years, the announcement suggests that clubs could obtain in the region of $8,400 a day for each of their players involved.

In 2014, 396 clubs affiliated to 57 national associations were allocated a share of the benefits - very similar to the 400 clubs from 55 national associations who got money in 2010.

Last year, Bayern Munich, the leading club in world champions Germany, ran out as much the biggest recipient, earning $1,734,367 (£1,160,013/€1,603,029), well over $400,000 (£268,000/€370,000) clear of Spanish giant Real Madrid in second place.

In 2018, the top earning club or clubs can now expect to receive in the region of $5 million (£3.5 million/€4.5 million) in total.

The big increase in club distributions was agreed as part of an extension of a collaboration agreement between FIFA and the European Club Association (ECA) which has been signed by FIFA President Sepp Blatter, secretary general Jérôme Valcke and ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

European clubs, as employers of most of the world's leading players, will assuredly once again receive the biggest payouts.

FIFA said this agreement "includes provisions governing adherence to the international match calendar until 2018, and to the effect that the international match calendar for the following period (2019-2022) will be based on the same principles as the one currently applicable".

The decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in November and December to avoid the searing summer heat in Qatar will necessitate a substantial rejig of the traditional European club season.

FIFA said a working group would meet "in due course" to finalise the international match calendar for the 2019-2022 cycle.

Rummenigge said last month that leagues and clubs could not be expected to bear the costs for such rescheduling and that the clubs "expect to be compensated for the damage" that a break with tradition would cause.

A later meeting between Blatter and Rummenigge was reported to have led to a softening of the clubs' stance.

Clubs would be advised to scrutinise the fine print of eventual 2018 and 2022 undertakings: the application form for the 2014 payments committed prospective recipients to a number of undertakings, besides respecting the international match calendar.

These included: not to be a party to legal proceedings against FIFA as regards the governing body's regulations on the status and transfer of players and the FIFA statutes; to recognise the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as sole competent body to decide on disputes between the club and FIFA; not to be a member of any association or grouping involving clubs from more than one country (with the exception, for Europeans, of the ECA); and to use the payments "at least partly" for youth and development programmes.

According to Valcke, the $209 million figure is the same as the sum paid each four-year cycle to FIFA's 209 member associations under the governing body's basic Financial Assistance Programme.