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COVID-19: UEFA repays N259bn to broadcasters

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COVID-19: UEFA repays N259bn to broadcasters
European football faces further financial setback amid the coronavirus pandemic as governing body UEFA is returning about 575 million euros (about 259 billion Naira) to broadcasters.

European Club Association (ECA) chairman Andrea Agnelli said on Tuesday that UEFA is repaying 575 million euros (680 million dollars).

He said this was because of the months-long suspension and the ensuing completion, with fewer matches than originally scheduled, of UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League.

Agnelli told a virtual ECA assembly: “That is all money that is not going to be distributed.”

Under the original deal, UEFA would have earned 3.25 billion euros in the past season, with 2.55 billion euros to be distributed among the participating clubs in both competitions.

It was not clear whether the full 575 million euros would be withheld from the clubs or whether UEFA would also suffer losses.

The Champions League and Europa League were suspended in March.

They were then completed in mini-tournaments in August —- with two Europa League last-16 ties, all quarter-finals and all semi-finals played in one match instead of two.

Agnelli, the president of Italian champions Juventus, reiterated that European clubs would lose some four billion euros in the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 seasons because of the pandemic.

Games behind closed doors have hit ticket sales’ income and Agnelli said he also expects less money from sponsorships and the transfer market.

He added that the upcoming season was going to be “very, very challenging both on and off the pitch.”

The ECA chairman also suggested that talks about Champions League reform for the new cycle from 2024 be postponed until 2021.

UEFA president Aleksandar Ceferin said recently he could envision finals tournaments for the club competitions, as happened this year in Portugal and Germany for the Champions League and Europa League respectively.

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