European soccer’s governing body today said it will take control of selling broadcast rights for all competitive national team matches, starting with the qualification round for Euro 2016 in France.
The decision, announced at UEFA’s 35th annual congress in Paris, ends national federations’ ability to sell televised matches directly to networks and is likely to boost the incomes of smaller nations at the expense of larger ones.
Television rights are the largest source of revenue for most governing bodies. England’s Football Association made 575 million pounds ($942 million) over the last four-year cycle from international and domestic rights to national team games.
“The knock-on effect will be guaranteed revenue for each association,” UEFA President Michel Platini told delegates in Paris today. “You will therefore all be able to concentrate on the football, without having to worry what the draws might throw up and whether their outcome will be favorable, or not, in terms of TV rights.”
The central control will be on a similar basis to the sale of rights for the Champions League and Europa League competitions, where teams receive broadcast revenue from UEFA based on the size of their TV markets.
“We thought it through long and hard and we’ve gotten a good deal for ourselves,” English F.A. General Secretary Alex Horne told reporters. “It is higher than our current valuation of the rights. It is a creative idea and we believe it will work.”
Media speculation suggested some national associations were resisting the changes because of the risk of a drop in income. Platini said all 53 of UEFA’s member countries had signed up to the new program.
“Thank you also to the big national associations for the exemplary solidarity they are demonstrating in this regard,” he said.
Qualification matches for World Cups are also included in the new sales process. National associations will now only be able to directly sell rights for exhibition games and club cup competitions.