African football launched the Super League amid huge financial losses

African football launched the Super League amid huge financial losses

A new 24-club Super League aimed at revolutionizing football in Africa and becoming its richest competition was launched on Wednesday by Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe, just hours after his organization It reported a loss of nearly $50 million for the past year.

Motsepe told the CAF General Assembly in Arusha, Tanzania that the CAF Africa Super League will offer a total prize money of $100 million, five times more than the current African Champions League.

The new competition will begin in August 2023 and the winning club will receive $11.5 million in its inaugural season, Motsepe said at the opening ceremony after the general meeting. Each of the 24 teams will initially be paid $2.5 million to help cover costs.

CAF and Motsepe did not announce which of the 24 African clubs will take part in the first season, or give details of the exact format. He said that he will make another announcement in a few months.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino attended the CAF General Assembly and launch. He had previously backed the project, unlike last year’s doomed European Super League, which was strongly opposed by world football’s governing body.

While the Africa Super League’s $100 million is dwarfed by UEFA’s Champions League – with $2 billion split between European clubs in prize money – it will still easily be the richest competition in Africa.

Even the African Cup of Nations, the continental showcase for national teams, has just under $30 million in prize money. Senegal collected $5 million for winning the tournament in February.

“This is a project that will highlight African club football … even beyond Africa,” Infantino said of the proposed competition.

However, Motsepe did not provide any specific details on where the money will come from to fund CAF’s new cross-continental league, with Africa’s governing body in financial trouble. CAF figures released on Wednesday showed it made a net loss of $44.6 million in 2020-21 and some recent media reports even claimed CAF was effectively bankrupt just one year into the South African mining billionaire’s presidency. is

In addition to the $100 million, Motsepe said another $50 million will be set aside to pay players and retain some of the continent’s best talent in Africa.

Motsepe said last month that CAF was “inundated with investors and sponsors” but he was yet to announce a major commercial deal for the African Super League.

“We believe we can change the face of African football,” Motsepe said, reiterating the widespread interest from business partners. “We are raising $100 million … and we are confident that it will make a big contribution to improving the quality and standard of African football.”

The idea of ​​a Super League for Africa was first mooted two years ago and Infantino has been closely associated with the project since its inception, with some speculating that he is the driving force behind it. Infantino said he was “lucky enough to help with some of the sessions.”

Earlier at the CAF General Assembly, Motsepe referred to Infantino as “the African brother in Europe” and said all 54 CAF member states would support him in next year’s FIFA presidential election in Rwanda. to vote

The comment is likely to reignite criticism that CAF under Motsepe is too close to Infantino, who has used his influence as world football leader to ensure Motsepe is unopposed as CAF chief in March 2021. Selected despite South Africa having no previous experience in international football. administration

CAF is the second largest continental football governing body after UEFA and provides the largest bloc of votes for the FIFA leadership race. For many, Infantino has followed a similar tactic to predecessor Sepp Blatter, whose bold offensive in Africa helped him secure a massive 54-vote majority and nearly 20 years in power.

Motsepe hit back at criticism last month that he was a “puppet” for Infantino, something that has shadowed him since his appointment with Infantino.

“There are things we agree on and things we don’t,” Motsepe said at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco. “I’m focused on business and making money in African football and this Infantino thing is old history for me.”

On Wednesday, Infantino was presented with a large framed photo of Mount Kilimanjaro by Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa at the General Assembly session while Motsepe lavished praise on the FIFA president and applauded delegates at the meeting. Took part in saying.

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