GENEVA (AP)Soccer clubs around the world were invited by FIFA on Tuesday to apply for money from a fund of $209 million set aside for teams that release players for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Clubs get paid a daily rate – which FIFA estimates at about $10,000 – for as long as 832 players selected for the 32 rosters are on national team duty ahead of and during the tournament.
The preparation period starts Nov. 14 and the tournament ends on Dec. 18.
The $209 million fund, agreed to by FIFA and the European Club Association in 2015, also rewards clubs who helped develop World Cup players. Each player’s share of the fund is distributed among the clubs he played for in the past two years.
FIFA said more than 400 clubs playing in 63 different member countries were paid shares from the $209 million fund allocated from the 2018 World Cup commercial revenues.
The ”Club Benefits Program” was created in a 2008 deal for FIFA to recognize the newly launched ECA as a more democratic representative of teams’ interests.
European teams typically employ about 75% of the players who go to the World Cup.
FIFA paid $40 million into the fund for players who went to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and it was $70 million four years later for the tournament in Brazil.
Clubs are set to get a bigger share from the 2026 World Cup, which will have about 50% more players in an expanded 48-team tournament.
FIFA’s revenue from sponsorship, ticket sales and corporate hospitality is also set to rise sharply for the 2026 edition, which will be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.
A similar payment scheme is run by UEFA for the European Championship, which was worth 200 million euros ($194 million) for the tournament played last year.
Chelsea got the biggest share of 5.1 million euros ($5 million) from the Euro 2020 fund, which also rewarded clubs whose players were called up for qualifying games.
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