By Paul Nicholson
September 18 – The AFC has announced newly formed Asia Football Group (AFG) as its new, exclusive commercial partner for the 2023-2028 term with immediate effect.
AFG takes over the exclusive $3.4 billion commercial marketing contract that was previously guaranteed by Chinese-owned Football Marketing Asia (FMA).
The takeover of the agreement is understood to be under the same terms and conditions as the original DDMC Fortis (later FMA) deal.
AFG is registered in Dubai and is essentially the same sales team, lead by Patrick Murphy, that was operating as FMA.
While FMA did not default on any of its contractual obligations to the AFC, its parent Chinese ownership was being sued in the Hong Kong courts over other business interests.
The AFC took the decision to end its partnership with FMA as it wanted to avoid being impacted by parent company litigation that did not relate to its own business.
The guarantees to the AFC from the new AFG sports marketing business are being provided by a mix of the company’s Japanese and Middle Eastern investors, though their details have not been released.
In a statement the AFC said the appointment of AFG was “a strategic decision to further solidify and enhance the Confederation’s financial sustainability” and that the partnership would enable “the Confederation to secure its financial future and set the stage for the continued growth and development of football in Asia.”
“The new commercial arrangement with AFG has been put in place after the evaluation and consideration of proposals from potential partners, with the AFC Executive Committee concluding that AFG’s expertise and vision not only align with the AFC’s wider objectives, but also ensure the continuity of service during this period to the AFC, its commercial partners and football stakeholders,” said the statement.
With the bulk of operational personnel transferring from FMS to AFG there will be a smooth transition from the AFC’s previous commercial partners of existing and new sales activity.
Under the original deal with DDMC Fortis, all the commercial partnerships are signed directly with the AFC, and monies collected by the AFC, rather than via the marketing partner.
In the AFC statement AFG said it provides “value focused solutions deriving from optimum fan engagement and digitally driven innovations, Asia Football Group aims to address business challenges of AFC sponsor partners and media partners.
“Working closely with the AFC and its stakeholders, Asia Football Group strives for success and growth of Asian football, redefining Asian football’s standing within global football.”
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