League of Ireland clubs competing in Europe set for financial windfall as UEFA up prize money
LEAGUE of Ireland champions Dundalk will receive a minimum of €550,000 in prize money for competing in the 2015/16 Champions League campaign after UEFA announced a significant increase in the distribution of funds to clubs in smaller leagues.
And Europa League participants Cork City, St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers also received good news this morning as they are guaranteed €200,000 - a figure that will increase to €410,000 if they get through the first round of that competition.
UEFA and the European Clubs Association revealed a new structure today which they believe will help to share the wealth accrued by the lucrative competitions after an overall increase in prize money.
At the top level, the figures are staggering. Each Champions League group stage participant is now guaranteed €12 million while teams who make the Europa League group phase are assured €2.4 million.
However, there will be a positive knock-on effect for the leading clubs in leagues who struggle to reach that stage as their percentage of the pot has increased with solidarity payments rising along with the incentives for progressing through qualifying rounds.
Dundalk will receive €300,000 for entering the Champions League at the second qualifying round stage, an increase of €125,000 on what St Patrick’s Athletic received in 2014.
On top of that, the solidarity fee paid to league champions around the continent who fail to make the group stages has increased by €50,000 to €250,000.
The Louth club will be unseeded for that round and are likely to land an opponent of similar quality to Legia Warsaw, who clinically finished off the Saints in the second leg last July.
However, if Stephen Kenny’s men somehow manage to scale that hurdle then they could double their money to over €1 million.
Meanwhile, the Europa League clubs will be eyeing a repeat of last summer where the three SSE Airtricity League entrants all succeeding in making it through the first qualifying round after the draw pitted them against inferior opposition.
Derry, Dundalk and Sligo Rovers made €250,000 for coming through one tie before getting knocked out when they encountered stronger opposition.
If St Patrick’s Athletic, Cork City and Shamrock Rovers repeat that feat they will collect €410,000 for their efforts.
Travel costs and other expenses can eat into these funds if the draw is unkind, although additional gate receipts help to offset those costs.
Either way, the European rewards dwarf domestic incentives with Dundalk receiving just €100,000 from the FAI for their league winning achievement.