Saudi Arabia in talks with African Super League over sponsorship
The country wants to invest massively into African football
According to the Guardian, Saudi Arabia and the Confederation of African Football are in negotiations for a $200 million (£160 million) sponsorship contract for the new African Super League, which might assist to ensure the continent’s backing for a potential World Cup bid.
The 24-team competition, which has received strong backing from Fifa president Gianni Infantino, was scheduled to begin in August for the purpose of Caf’s efforts to promote African clubs internationally and enhance income.
The Super League, which was first proposed by Infantino in 2018 and announced by Caf’s president, Patrice Motsepe, in October, is expected to have a prize fund of $100 million, including $11.6 million for the winner — nearly $8 million more than is currently offered to the winners of the African Champions League — and a solidarity fund that will provide each of the 54 Caf member associations with $1 million annually for the advancement of football.
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It is assumed that a scaled-down version with only eight teams will run from October 17 to November 30 next season instead, starting in the 2024–25 season, when the sponsorship contract with Saudi Arabia is anticipated to commence.
It is understood that talks with Saudi Arabia have been continuing for some time. Last week, Caf announced that it had inked a five-year deal with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation for collaboration and development: “foster growth opportunities for African and Saudi Arabian football”.
“Caf is excited to work together and partner with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to develop and grow football on our continent and globally,” said Motsepe in a statement. “There are also specific areas for mutually beneficial partnerships that we are discussing and announcements will be made in due course.”
Since a $1 billion broadcast and marketing rights contract with the French business Lagardère Sports has been revoked in 2019, it is believed that Caf has been experiencing financial difficulties. Regarding a prospective Saudi sponsorship of the Super League, Caf made no comments.
The Egyptian sports minister announced last month that they would not be submitting a bid before the deadline in June, making a proposed partnership with Greece and Egypt seem unlikely. It is also believed that Saudi Arabia now views the 2034 edition as a more viable option for what might be another winter World Cup considering the blistering summer temperatures there.
It is going to host the Club World Cup in December and the inaugural Asia Cup in January 2027. Infantino and Mohammed bin Salman have been reported to get along well because they shared an executive box for the Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight boxing rematch in Jeddah in August.
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