For three clubs in the SSE Airtricity League this week could see them play their biggest games of the season, financially speaking at least. Dundalk, in the Champions League, and St Patrick’s Athletic and Cork City, in the Europa League, all have genuine chances of progressing. The prize money involved dwarfs what clubs could expect to earn from league position alone. Here’s how it breaks down.
The Champions League is, as you’d expect, far more lucrative than the Europa League. So far Dundalk have earned €300,000 for participating in the second qualifying round. They will get another €250,000 if they don’t reach the Champions League group stages (along with all other national champions who miss out).
If they progress tonight v FH in Iceland, they guarantee themselves another €630,000. That figure is based on them playing the Champions League third qualifying round and losing. They’re then parachuted into the Europa League play off round. They would earn €400,000 for Champions League qualifying round three and €230,000 for the Europa League play off.
If Dundalk win the Champions League third qualifying round match, they would earn at least €4.2 million more. They’d get €3 million for participating in the Champions League play off round and a minimum of €1.2 million for reaching the Europa League group stages. If they win that play off, they’ll earn at least €10 million more.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves here but this is what a win tonight GUARANTEES Dundalk;
- €0 QR 1 (earn nothing as they didn’t participate)
- €300,000 QR2
- €400,000 QR 3
- €230,000 EL PO
- €250,000 Non CL group payment
- €1,180,000 Total minimum payment
Cork City and St. Patrick’s Athletic
The money involved for Europa League clubs won’t set them up for years to come but it can really help next year’s budgets. So far, Cork and St. Pat's have earned €410,000 for participating in the first two qualifying rounds. Progression for either side would guarantee them another €220,000 for playing in qualifying round three. While those figures are pale in comparison to the riches on offer to Dundalk, it should be remembered that winning the League of Ireland would earn €110,000 in 2016. Last year St. Pat's earned €15,000 for finishing fourth (that place would earn €25,000 in 2016). Here’s how it would break down for both clubs if they progressed on Thursday.
- €200,000 QR1 (this is the total amount earned by Shamrock Rovers)
- €210,000 QR2
- €220,000 QR3
- €630,000 Total minimum payment
The figures involved show that while some LOI fans set aside club rivalries for the sake of progression in Europe, others see the money earned as widening the gap for the top teams. While that may not apply to St Pats this season, earning €630,000 would see them back among the top budgets next year.
- Dundalk are away to FH of Iceland on Wednesday night. They drew 1-1 at home last week
- Cork City host Hacken of Sweden on Thursday. They drew 1-1 last week
- St Patrick's Athletic host Dinamo Minsk of Belarus on Thursday. They also drew 1-1 away last week
Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile