Saudi Arabia and the Confederation of African Football are holding talks concerning a £160 million sponsorship deal.
Saudi Arabia is looking at sponsoring the new initiative of CAF, the African Super League and this move could also help Africa in receiving support for any World Cup bid in the future.
CAF had been set to commence the 24-team tournament that has been massively backed by Gianni Infantino in August as part of moves to give a face lift to African clubs and make more revenue.
The Super League idea which was first shared by Infantino in 2018 and made public by CAF’s President Patrice Motsepe is planned to have cash injections of $100 million.
That amount includes $11.6 million for the winner, close to $8 million higher than presently given as prize money for the winners of the CAF Champions League.
There is also a solidary fund bringing every of the 54 CAF member associations $1 million yearly towards the development of the round leather game.
However, it is believed that the commencement of the Super League will be delayed until the 2024/25 season when the cash injections from Saudi Arabia is expected to flow in.
A reduced format including only eight teams will run from 17th of October to 30th of November next season.
Conversations with the middle east nation is said to have been held for a while and in the previous week, CAF announced it has penned a five-year cooperation and development agreement with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.
This initiative is expected to “foster growth opportunities for African and Saudi Arabian football”.
Both parties have put pen-to-paper on a memorandum of understanding that would focus mainly on moves regarding technical and football development at club and national-team level.
Grassroot football is also not left out alongside women’s football, talent identification, competitions, friendly matches and commercial opportunities.
The billionaire cum CAF president, Patrice Motsepe said in a statement: “Caf is excited to work together and partner with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to develop and grow football on our continent and globally.
He added: “There are also specific areas for mutually beneficial partnerships that we are discussing and announcements will be made in due course.”
It is very much known that CAF has been facing difficulties since a $1 billion television and marketing rights contract with the French organization Lagardère Sports was axed in 2019.
Confederation of African Football did not make assertions concerning a possible Saudi sponsorship of the Super League.
Saudi Arabia has been alleged to be eyeing a never-before-seen three continent project to host the FIFA World Cup in 2030.
This is coming inspite of FIFA’s guidelines preventing Asian Football Confederation countries from hosting a men’s world cup till the 2034 World Cup.
FIFA followed that route due to the selection of Qatar for the 2022 tournament which was considered a success by many.
A faintly rumored partnership with Greece and Egypt looks unlikely after the sport minister of Egypt stated in April that the African nation was not planning to put in a bid before June’s deadline.
It is understood that Saudi Arabia now vies the 2034 tournament as a more possible alternative for what would be possibly another FIFA World Cup staged in the winter period of the year due to the high summer temperature in the Asian country.
The country which shock the world in their first day of Group C action in the 2022 FIFA World Cup will host the Club World Cup in December and afterwards the Asian Cup in January 2027.
Gianni Infantino is understood to have an healthy relationship with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman.
They were seen together last August sitting in the same executive box as they watched the Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight boxing rematch in Jeddah.
Speaking concerning the new African Super League in October, Gianni Infantino said: “There is a huge will to invest in a project like this, which will give a new visibility to African football.
Infantino added: “The growth of African club and national-team football contributes to the growth of world football.
“The competition will benefit each and every country, not just with the solidarity payment, but the exposure for African football.”