GENEVA: Europe’s leading clubs aim to raise up to €3m towards aid for refugees with a simple scheme planned for the start of group competition in the Champions League and Europa League writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The general assembly of the European Club Association in Geneva decided unanimously that one euro should be donated to the cause for every single ticket sold for each team’s first home match in the tournaments.

Other clubs in Europe’s professional divisions will also be invited to contribute similarly, with one euro for each ticket sold in a designated forthcoming home league match. ECA will invest the total fund in one or more suitable refugee aid programmes.

This scheme is in addition to the individual aid projects already activated by many clubs including Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Milan, Celtic and Porto to amateur and grassroots outfits across the continent in response to the migration crisis.

ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “There was a [proposal] from FC Porto that the clubs maybe have to help the refugees. This is a serious problem we have to face in Europe and football has a responsibility towards these poor people.

“Based on that we agreed that all Champions League and Europa League participants, 80 clubs, will donate one euro for each ticket sold for their first [group stage] home match.

“We will then find a concrete action plan and formally invest this money in the best help possible in favour of the refugees. It is a sign that this body is unique, united, and we are happy that the whole general assembly unanimously accepted these proposals.”

Milan’s Umberto Gandini, ECA’s first vice-president, explained that the project was not exclusive to European competition clubs.

He said: “The opportunity to participate in this programme was also given to other clubs who can decide by applying the same system or devising other ways to donate some amounts.”

ECA officials estimated that the minimum sum raised would total between €2m and €3m.