The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced the creation of an Independent Working Group to protect the commercial rights of the confederation.
On Friday, the AFC said that it was important to guard its competitions such as the AFC Champions League, men’s and women’s Asian Cups and the AFC Cup among other competitions.
The new body will work with and advise the AFC’s commercial and legal departments.
“The AFC recognises the challenges that all our partners are facing in these uncertain times and that makes it especially important that the AFC protects the value and exclusivity of all our rights both now and in the coming years,” AFC President, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said.
“The Confederation remains most grateful for the loyalty and understanding of all its partners and we know that this move, involving people of such outstanding experience and quality, will show everyone how seriously we are taking our responsibilities in this area.”
AFC’s Executive Committee appointed Tom Liston, Dan Harrington, and Marco Villiger to the Independent Working Group on the Protection of Commercial Rights.
Tom Liston is a former Managing Director of Team Marketing, who are based in Zurich and are an international sports marketing agency. Team Marketing has worked with the Union of European Football Associations for over 25 years.
Liston has worked with the AFC before, helping to advise on sponsorship deals in 2018.
Dan Harrington is a commercial lawyer with experience in dealing with domestic and international sports rights sales. Harington is also a partner at Level Law, a London based firm who focus on media, entertainment, technology, and sport.
Marco Villager has previously worked at FIFA as the Deputy Secretary General and General Counsel. Villager also oversaw FIFA’s legal, finance, commercial and HR divisions and now owns MV Sports Consulting.
In 2018, the AFC and DDMC Fortis (now called Football Marketing Asia) signed an eight year commercial rights deal covering the 2021-2024 and 2025-2028 rights cycles. The deal was believed to be worth more than five and a half million Australian dollars.