Enyimba, FC IfeanyiUba Amongst 416 Clubs around the World to Share Russia 2018 Largesse

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Duro Ikhazuagbe

Two of Nigeria’s NPFL clubs, Enyimba FC of Aba and FC IfeanyiUba are among the 416 football teams around the world to share the $206 million Club Benefit Programme after the successful staging of FIFA’s 2018 World Cup in Russia last summer.

FIFA yesterday confirmed the payments that will see a share of the revenues from Russia 2018 allocated to the clubs whose players contributed to the success of the World Cup.

Super Eagles Number Two goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, left FC IfeanyiUba at the expiration of his contract with the Nnewi club to join Enyimba before heading to Russia as the only home-based player in the Nigerian squad.

Although Ezenwa was in charge of all Nigeria’s qualifying matches after dependable Carl Ikeme who stood between the sticks in the first game with Zambia in Ndola was diagnosed with Leukeamia, Francis Uzoho was the preferred choice of Coach Gernot Rohr for the Number 1 jersey.

Despite his role as unused goalkeeper before Nigeria crashed out in the group stage, Ezenwa fetched FC IfeanyiUba and Enyimba $118,860 (about N43million) respectively.

In the breakdown of the pay out to all the 416 clubs that contributed players to the Mundial in Russia, $237,720 (about N87million) was allocated to the NFF for onward transmission to the two clubs with rights to Ezenwa.

Other members of the Super Eagles earned the FIFA Club Benefit pay out for their foreign clubs while third choice goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi, who was the only player from the South African league at Russia 2018 fetched Chippa United $237,720.

Of the $6,320,805 that was allotted to teams from Africa, Egypt’s top club, Al Ahly earned the highest pay out of $1,744,695 (about N645million).

Unsurprisingly, the top ten clubs who had the most players in the squads at the World Cup and who will in turn receive the biggest share of the benefits are all European powerhouses: Manchester City FC, Real Madrid CF, Tottenham Hotspur FC, FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain FC, Chelsea FC, Manchester United FC, Club Atlético de Madrid, Juventus FC, and AS Monaco.

English clubs earned the highest pay out of $37,406,940 while Spanish clubs were next to earn $22,572,080. German clubs were third earning $18,920,672. Teams in France that won Russia 2018 earned $15,303,225.

However, substantial amounts will also go to clubs from Asia and the Americas as well as to other leagues in Europe.

The total pay out to the 416 clubs from 63 member associations of FIFA, represents a significant increase of almost 200 per cent compared to the previous edition.

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, said the redistribution of the World Cup benefit is to ensure that football community that contributed to the success of the Mundial got rewarded.

“The FIFA World Cup is the pinnacle of football, generating passion and emotion from every player and every fan in every corner of the world. It is FIFA’s responsibility to redistribute the revenues of this unique competition among the entire football community, and clubs, obviously, deserve to share in this success as they were key contributors.

“I’m very pleased to see that teams from so many different regions will benefit from this programme, which will help to develop football even further around the globe,” Infantino noted.

The Club Benefits Programme is part of a broader collaboration agreement between FIFA and the European Club Association (ECA), which was first launched ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and further extended in 2015 to cover both the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.