Euro 2024 in Germany is UEFA's 1st step to raise pandemic-hit cash reserves above $550 million

GENEVA (AP) — UEFA’s two-step financial plan to refill its pandemic-hit cash reserves starts with a men’s 2024 European Championship held in the home of the continent’s largest economy.

Revenue of about 2.5 billion euros ($2.7 billion) is expected from broadcast and sponsor deals, and sales of tickets, hospitality packages and licensing from staging a 51-game tournament in Germany that begins on June 14 in Munich and ends July 14 with the championship match in Berlin.

Europe's governing soccer body UEFA forecast in April that close to half of its Euro 2024 income, about 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion), will be profit to fund much of its work and development grants for the next four years and top up its reserves.

The costs of organizing the tournament include hundreds of million of euros (dollars) in prize money for the 24 teams and daily-rate payments to clubs whose players are selected.

It was certainly Germany’s time to host UEFA’s marquee event — 36 years after West Germany hosted just an eight-team Euro ’88 one year before the Berlin Wall came down — and when its executive committee members voted in September 2018 to pick the country over Turkey, a global health emergency was not on their minds.

The legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, was very much in UEFA thinking when a long-term plan to send Euro 2028 to be hosted in the UK and Ireland was finally confirmed in an uncontested vote last October.

A tournament anchored in England with modern stadiums generating huge matchday revenues was a safe choice for UEFA eyeing its bottom line after the high-maintenance, low-revenue Euro 2020 that was played one year late in half-empty venues across 11 countries.

UEFA sets a baseline comfort level of 500 million euros ($543 million) in cash reserves and it stood at 575 million euros ($624 million) before the pandemic spread early in 2020.

It fell to 360 million euros ($391 million) in the most recent accounts for the 2023 financial year.

“The lowest point, however, has now been reached,” UEFA finance director Josef Koller told its 55 member federations in February at their annual congress held in Paris. The men’s Euro held every four years is the foundation of UEFA’s finances and funds development payments to its members.

Even if the Champions League and other club competitions earn more money — about 3.5 billion euros ($3.8 billion) this season — it goes mostly back to the clubs in prize money. UEFA’s 6.5% share of so-called net revenue after deductions has been less than 200 million euros ($217 million) each year.

The 13 UEFA sponsors of Euro 2024 include soccer tournament staples Adidas and Coca-Cola, Qatar’s tourist board, plus from China two subsidiaries of Alibaba and three electronic technology firms.

UEFA typically favors free-to-air broadcasters in Europe for national-team competitions to help those games stay part of the national conversation. In the United States games will be shown by Fox Sports in English and Spanish-language streaming service Vix.

That income they provide underpins the “HatTrick” program that UEFA pays each of its member countries for building projects, operational costs plus running national teams and education.

“Each of our member associations is eligible to receive up to 17 million euros ($18.5 million) over the program’s four-year cycle from July 2024 to June 2028,” UEFA said about its basic funding that is worth more than double what European federations get from FIFA.

Prize money of 331 million euros ($360 million) will be shared among the 24 national federations taking part with the champion getting 28.5 million euros ($31 million) if it won all its games.

More than 600 clubs, mostly in Europe but some globally including in Saudi Arabia, are set to get UEFA payments from a 240 million euros ($261 million) fund to pay clubs for releasing their players.

UEFA said it allocated 140 million euros ($152 million) to cover players released for the finals tournament and 100 million euros ($109 million) will be distributed according to call-ups for all teams who played in two editions of the Nations League and Euro 2024 qualifying games.

After Euro 2020, which had a total fund of 200 million euros ($218 million), Chelsea got the biggest payment with 5.1 million euros ($5.5 million), Manchester City received 4.5 million euros ($4.9 million), and English clubs shared 47 million euros ($51 million).

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