World Football

Understanding the Failures of FIFA Club Benefits

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FIFA are destroying the foundations of football by ignoring smaller clubs in their Club Benefits programme. At the end of the World Cup, or should I say, at the end of the FIFA World Cup, £171.6 million will be paid out to the clubs of players who’ve travelled to Qatar. The initiative which was first paid in 2018, is in line with FIFA’s “commitment to recognise the contributions that football clubs make to the successful staging of the FIFA World Cup.”

FIFA Club Benefits

For every day a player has spent away with their national side, £8,226 can be claimed for their services by clubs they’ve played for since 2020. However, all the time a player has spent before 2020, will be completely ignored. To me, this makes zero sense and will damage the future of football.

If the players who’ve gone to Qatar had started their careers at the start of 2020, then perhaps this next idea in the book of FIFA’s grand plans would seem reasonable. However, as I’m sure you’re fully aware, every one of the 832 Qatar attendees had kicked a ball before 1st January 2020.

Manchester City will receive the most FIFA club benefits, £3,287,400, for providing 16 players, the most sent to Qatar from a Premier League club. Leeds United, Aston Villa, Benfica, Bournemouth, Borussia Dortmund, River Plate, Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona, Valencia will also get a substantial cut from FIFA Club Benefits for the contribution they have made since 2020. But none of the clubs that nurtured those players from an early age, will receive a single penny for their contributions.

Take John Stones for example. The central defender will ensure City can claim almost £200,000 for the days spent with England and because he’s been at the club since 2016, none of that £200,000 will go to Everton (where he spent four seasons) or Barnsley (where he played at from 2001).

Everton turned Stones’ potential into a player sold for £50m to City when he was 22. Without the success and talent he showed during his time in Merseyside, perhaps Pep Guardiola would never have seen Stones even kick a ball and would certainly not have access to the data he produced during his 77 appearances for the Blues. And yet, they receive nothing for the effort they put into the player.

Everton would barely benefit from an extra £200,000 in their back pocket, even with the pressure of delivering a new stadium. But a club like Barnsley, who announced a £4.2 million loss for the 2021 financial year would have almost definitely gained.

Imagine if these smaller clubs like Stones’ Barnsley or perhaps Raheem’s Sterling’s Alpha and Omega FC are given a share of the FIFA Club Benefits cut. They’d be encouraged even further to grow talent. They’d be inspired and incentivised to give their youth a chance, with the prospect of not only seeing a player they’ve coached at the world’s most watched sporting event, but also getting paid to do it all over again.

But instead, the clubs that in some cases have had these players for a fraction of their careers are given money that won’t even come near to affecting their balance sheet. Whilst teams lower down the pyramid that continue to struggle from the financial effects of COVID-19, are witnessing the fruits they deserve being handed out to the elite.

FIFA Club Benefits Catastrophe

A summary video about the FIFA Club Benefits programme justified that clubs who the players have played for in the last two years, will receive funds to “ensure that the clubs that played their part in the World Cup qualifying journey, also benefit.” Yet, there’s no mention of funding any of the other clubs involved in their development.

What makes this handout even more unbearable, is the fact that out of the current England squad, only nine of the 26 who went to Qatar will provide money for their first professional club through this system. From those select few, only one of them will be sending funds outside of the Premier League. Jude Bellingham to Birmingham City.

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Football clubs lower down the leagues are facing some of the biggest financial difficulties they’ve seen in their lifetime. Whilst at the top, some of the biggest clubs in the world are eligible to claim and steal scraps that would significantly benefit smaller clubs.

If the world’s leading footballing organisation, want to strengthen footballs foundations but also repair heir crumbling global image, they have to compensate the clubs who’ve grown this talent that without, there wouldn’t be a World Cup.

Let us know your thoughts on FIFA Club Benefits in the comments below!

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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