Africa Super League to change face of football on continent, says Patrice Motsepe
The creation of the Africa Super League will transform football on the continent forever, according to Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Patrice Motsepe.
Plans are for the 24-team club tournament to begin in the 2023-24 campaign, with an overall prize fund of $100m (£81.9m) and the winner earning $11.6m.
“Part of the overall strategy is using the Africa Super League to significantly and fundamentally improve the quality of football on the continent,” Motsepe told BBC Sport Africa.
The format will see 197 matches played from August to May, which Caf say will lead to a ‘Super Bowl-like’ final.
The main selling point of the Africa Super League, which Motsepe officially launched on Wednesday at the Caf general assembly in Tanzania, is the financial rewards it will provide to clubs, member associations and Caf itself.
Caf’s 54 member associations will all get a $1m cash award per annum from the Super League kitty, with Caf hoping to earn about $50m which it can dedicate to youth and women’s football.
“My objective is to get money for football infrastructure, for players, club owners, stakeholders. We are talking about anything between $250m to $300m every year,” Motsepe explained.
“If you look at the numbers, we are talking about $2.5m for each of the 24 clubs to use, to help with transport and accommodation but also to buy players.”
The chief executive of Tanzanian club Simba FC agreed with Motsepe’s belief that the competition will have a wide-ranging impact.
“This is going to change the face of African football as we know it in terms of investment, exposure and marketing overall,” Barbara Gonzalez told BBC Sport Africa.
“As one of the leading football clubs in the region, we’re extremely excited about this.”
The addition of the Super League will mean Africa will have three continental club competitions; the Africa Super League, the African Champions League and the Caf Confederation Cup.
Motsepe says that all three must co-exist, with the two already-established competitions also benefiting from the financial windfall expected from the Super League.
The Super League will have participants from 16 countries, with promotion and relegation planned via play-offs.
“I want to be in a situation where there’s competition among all the leagues and I want the Champions League to even get more prize money, and to be competitive,” the South African added.
Infantino adds backing to Super League project
Football’s global governing body Fifa is working with Caf to see that the Africa Super League does indeed take off.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino was alongside Motsepe at the launch in Arusha, and the Swiss-Italian was quick to distance the new competition from the failed attempt to create a Super League by some of Europe’s top clubs last year.
“Well, first of all, the Africa Super League is a completely different proposition than what was proposed in Europe, which was a kind of a breakaway thing outside of the structures,” Infantino said.
“This is done within the structure within Caf, within Fifa, within the football pyramid structure.”
Infantino explained Fifa’s involvement in a club football project within one of its confederations as the two bodies working “together like a football team”. The 52-year-old said the partnership between the two organisations would “produce results and elevate African club football to the next level” and provide a similar boost to African national sides.