Clubs in the Women’s Champions League next season will receive a share of €24m as part of a new financial distribution model, with that figure more than four times greater than this season.
The Women’s Champions League will adopt a group stage as of the upcoming 2021/22 campaign, moving away from the straight knockout format that has existed until now, and clubs stand to significantly benefit from the increased financial rewards.
Any team competing in the new group stage will receive a minimum payment of €400,000, compared to around €80,000 given to sides reaching the comparable stage of this season’s competition. In total, whichever clubs lifts the trophy could pocket €1.4m in rewards.
UEFA will also make ‘solidarity payments’ available from the overall prize pot to non-participating clubs in domestic leagues that are represented in the competition, with the aim of investing in women’s football at a wider level and helping to develop the game more broadly beyond the elite.
New commercial partners for the Women’s Champions League will be announced in the build-up to this season’s final in Gothenburg in May, which UEFA says have been attracted by the new more competitive format, involving qualifying rounds prior to the 16-team group stage.
VAR will also be adopted for all matches in the knockout rounds of the competition next season and beyond, having previously only been used in Women’s Champions League finals up to now.
UEFA wants to offer better protection and support specifically for female players, which has led to clubs being permitted, as of next season, to alter their squad list at any time during the campaign to replace players who are pregnant or leave for or return from maternity leave.
For the first time in the women’s competition each club can also name a B list of players, supplementing primary squads with young homegrown talents.
“The development of women’s football should not be driven by short-term gain but a long-term vision,” explained UEFA president Aleksandar Ceferin.
“Thanks to the solidarity payments at the heart of this project and the increased rewards, every last Euro generated by the Women’s Champions League and even more will go back into the women’s game.”
Nadine Kessler, UEFA Chief of Women’s Football said: “After more than three years of dialogue and consultation with our national associations, clubs and the European Club Association, we would like to thank everyone involved wholeheartedly for their contributions. Each one of these changes are driven by a united vision and ensure we are all moving in the same direction.”
“We are excited to bring the new UEFA Women’s Champions League to the world, to bring football fans the best players and the best teams, in the best women’s club competition in the world.”