How much will Hearts earn from having three Australia players at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?

Hearts are set to bank a six-figure sum from FIFA as a result of World Cup compensation paid to clubs across the globe who have players participating in Qatar. But how much will they earn and how does it work?

Hearts trio Nathaniel Atkinson, Cammy Devlin and Kye Rowles have all been included in Australia’s 26-man squad for Qatar, and the club can expected to bank approximately £9,000 for each day that the trio remain with the Socceroos at the tournament. The exact figure is difficult to quantify due to the complexity formula used by FIFA, but even if Australia are knocked out in the group stage Hearts can expect to receive an approximate 40% slice of an estimated £470,400 payout for three players. That would amount to around £189,000.

How does it work?

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The Club Benefits Programme, part of a wider deal between world football’s governing body and the European Club Association, reimburses clubs who have players involved in the tournament. Established ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the programme was extended in 2015 to cover the 2018 competition in Russia and this year’s 2022 edition in Qatar.

Tourists visit the corniche adorned with a FIFA sign in Doha ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup. Picture: Jewel SAMAD / AFP

A total of $310m has been allocated to the programme for this tournament. Clubs only benefit if they have completed an application form by the end of October, which Hearts have done.

Clubs stand to make around US $8,530 (around £7,474 at the time of writing) per player for each day the individual remains with their national team at the World Cup – including the official preparation period which starts on November 10 – and up to the day after their final match. It doesn’t matter how many minutes the player spends on the pitch at the tournament. Every player in every squad is counted.

However, the total amount per player is distributed proportionally to the club(s) with which the player was registered during the two years before the tournament. Atkinson, Devlin and Rowles have all been at Hearts for less than two years, so their previous clubs will be entitled to varying proportional slices of the money under this scheme.

Total number of players at the World Cup: 736 (32 teams x 23 players in each squad) Total approximate number of days cumulatively of participation: 24,500 Distribution amount of $310 million (£271.m) is divided by the total number of days. Which are approximately 24,500. As a result, amount per player per day is $8,530 (£7,474). The amount of $8,530 (£7,474) is multiplied by the number of days each player is at the World Cup. Starting two weeks before the opening Match until the day following the last match of his team (total per player). The total per player is then distributed to the clubs with which the player was registered during the previous two years.

A worker walks past FIFA World Cup banners outside the Khalifa Stadium in Doha. Picture: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty

How does that affect Hearts?

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Devlin has been at Hearts for approximately 14 months, Atkinson 11 months and Rowles four months (29 months out of 72 in total for the three players, or roughly 40%), which means their previous clubs will also benefit under this scheme because they have been registered with them in the last two years.

Devlin joined Hearts in August 2021 from Australian League side Newcastle Jets, who he had joined only two months earlier. His previous club, Wellington Phoenix of New Zealand, would also be set to benefit. He has spent around eight months at Phoenix over the last two years.

Atkinson joined Hearts from Melbourne City on 10 January 2022, 11 months ago. So Melbourne can expect to receive slightly more than half of the money awarded by FIFA. Rowles signed in June from Central Coast Mariners and has therefore been at Hearts for around four months and his Australian club for approximately 20 months over the last two years.

Nathaniel Atkinson and Cammy Devlin are in the Australia squad along with Kye Rowles. Picture: Mark Scates / SNS
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How much will the Australians generate for Hearts?

It depends how far they go in the tournament. The benefits programme runs from November 10 to the day after a nation’s last match at the tournament. Australia’s last match in Group D is against Denmark on November 30, so if they get knocked out at that stage the scheme will compensate clubs for 21 days per player.

If there is £7,474 to be paid per player per day, then three players would generate just over £22,400 per day. Hearts would be entitled to receive around 40% of that, which adds up to just under £9,000 per day for the three Socceroos. If Australia go out in the group stage, £9,000 x 21 days would equal around £189,000.