There has been much uproar about the forthcoming World Cup for numerous reasons, location and date being chief among them.
For the majority of clubs (or at least in the Premier League), it is simply a headache that they don’t need, a prolonged domestic season that stretches further into the summer. An almost immediate return to action following the climax of the tournament, slap bang in the middle of Christmas.
Potentially having to deal with injuries that players pick up in Qatar, not to mention fatigue and jetlag, it is understandable why there has been so much opposition.
Clubs lower down in the football pyramid, though and as such, who are less likely to have most of their squad (if any) missing, can reap a number of benefits. Chiefly, a bonus month-long winter break to rest, recharge and, if necessary, implement new tactics on the training ground.
However, there is one more to consider that could have a major, positive impact on smaller clubs. A compensation initiative actioned by FIFA will mean that any club that will have players missing during this period can claim $10,000 (just over £9000) per day, per player.
Terriers to tot up the cash?
For a club like Huddersfield Town, who could see three players jet to Qatar; Yuta Nakayama, Sorba Thomas and Michal Helik, with Japan, Wales and Poland, respectively, this could make a big difference. The odds of each player being included in their nation’s World Cup squads can be considered high (barring sustaining any injuries) after playing roles in qualification.
Considering that the group stages last just under two weeks, it means that Huddersfield are guaranteed at least £300,000 – a sum of money that can make a big difference and go a long way towards operating costs.
Poland, who have prolific hitman Robert Lewandowski in their squad, are more than capable of making an impression, possibly reaching the quarter-finals. Both Wales and Japan are also capable of springing a similar surprise, which would swell the coffers to the tune of over £500,000 should this happen.
Seasiders set to reel it in
Meanwhile, Blackpool are also in a similar situation, with two of their players, Kenny Dougall and Theo Corbeanu, both in contention to secure a place in the Australia and Canada World Cup squads, respectively.
For the Lancashire club, who reported losses of over £4 million in their last financial statement (not helped by the COVID-19 pandemic), any financial windfall will go a long way towards running costs.
Australia have previously exceeded expectations at the World Cup, while Canada are considered to be many people’s favourite underdogs in Qatar – capable of at least progressing from their group.
Little to Zero Benefit for Top Tier Clubs
It is understood that FIFA could pay out up to nearly £200 million this winter to clubs all over the world that have players at the tournament, with this set to make a substantial difference for a number of clubs.
However, for the majority of Premier League clubs, who will likely see at least 50 per cent of their squads depleted, even potential payouts of between £2-3 million nowhere near compensate for injuries to key players, considering the significant income they make from television rights, sponsorships and gate receipts.
The silver lining is the winter transfer window which opens in January, though that does nothing to alleviate what is a busy festive period. This could cause major stress on clubs that are unlucky enough to have perhaps five key players return from the World Cup with injuries.
Lower league minnows such as Huddersfield Town and Blackpool will no doubt be hoping their absentees can go a long way this winter in what could prove pivotal for their club’s financial health.