Can international football matches be arranged by private companies?

The rights holders for international football matches

For competitive international football matches the rights holders of the matches will be the governing bodies of the event which is the match is involved in. For example when a competitive match is played during an international football tournament such as the World Cup the rights holder of the match will be the world governing body of football – FIFA.

Similarly when a match takes place during the European Championships football tournament the rights holder of the match will be the European Governing Body of football – UEFA.

In both these scenarios the organisation and aspects such as the ticketing will be organised by these governing bodies.

What is the case in relation to international friendly matches?

When an international football match takes place on a friendly basis there will be no involvement by the governing bodies in an organisational aspect. This organisational aspect will be done by the national governing bodies. For example when the England national football team is playing in a friendly match the rights holder will be the Football Association – the national governing body for football in England.

Can these rights be sold to private companies?

In a lot of cases the national governing body will sell the rights to these matches to private companies who will then arrange all the coordination and operational elements of the match.

What is the upshot of private companies organising these matches?

As these matches are only friendly matches and not under the adjudication of FIFA or UEFA when they have been sold to private companies that company will often seek to have the match played in a country which is different to either of the teams participating in the match. This is the reason why we have seen such sides as Argentina and Brazil playing a friendly match in London or England and Argentina playing a friendly match in Switzerland.

What is the reason for this?

One of the reasons behind this is to give football fans the opportunity to see certain international football teams and players which they would normally have no chance of seeing.

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For more information on:

  • Is this legal?
  • Are there any potential problems in doing this?
  • Does the organisation by private companies simply relate to international friendly matches?
  • Is it legal for them to do this?
  • What is the reason for clubs doing this?