Some people write about football because they love the game. No money exchanges hands and anyone who reads something that someone writes is perfectly entitled to like the words that they put down, they’re entitled to slate them or comment on them because that’s the way that it should be. Some other people are lucky enough to get paid to write about football for a living. Whether or not money lands in your bank account because of what you’ve written, the public are free to comment on anything you choose to write. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but sometimes a majority of people who’ll read something, will have to rub their eyes to double-check if they’ve actually just read what they think they have.
This week, someone who gets paid to write for a living posited that Celtic heading for the Champions League was great for Celtic but not for Scottish football. Say what now? Are Celtic now responsible for the collective failings of other domestic clubs’ performances in Europe?
So Celtic, barring an absolute disaster next week will pocket £26.4m for qualifying for the group stages. That sum is made up of landing a place in next week’s draw, TV revenue and for winning the play off leg. Chuck in £1.365m for a win and £455k for a draw in the group stages, then the money can soon stack up. Damn you Celtic players for actually being half decent at the job you’re paid to do. If Rijeka can turn around the 2-1 defeat from the first leg in Greece against Olympiacos, then Pot 3 beckons. Nothing is guaranteed, but it would make qualification for the last 16 a bit easier. Could be pie in the sky but achieving that last 16 spot would secure nearly another £5.5m. Enough for Kieran Tierney’s big toe! On his right foot, let’s not get carried away.
Solidarity and efficiency. Those two words tend not to be uttered too often by followers of Scottish football. If you got a grand a day for doing nothing, you’d be entitled to feel that life is pretty good right now. That’s the sum that awaits each SPFL side for Celtic making it to Europe’s top table, £365k to everyone from Aberdeen to St Johnstone.
Maybe coefficient is a better word to use though? It’s in the interest of every Scottish club involved in European football, that all of the sides that take part do as well as they possible can. The more good results that our club sides manage, the easier it becomes for every other team moving forward in terms of seedings. It makes sense, right? That said, you’d wager that there aren’t many Celtic fans out there who didn’t let out at least a chuckle when they heard of Rangers (IL) result in Luxembourg against the fourth best side of that nation.
Purely looking through green and white tinted spectacles at the European performances of Scottish sides this season, more goodwill was likely given to Perth and Aberdeen. That could be construed as surprising given that the team from the Granite City are likely to be Celtic’s biggest challengers in the league this season but then again, it is nice for a lot of fans to see the new club fail, especially given how the fans and the mainstream Scottish media talk them up. Might be worth checking if they’ve paid for the toilets yet before they benefit from the good work of Celtic.
Green and white goodwill or not, none of the three clubs involved in the Europa League this season have covered themselves in glory and whilst that does Scotland no good in a wider coefficient context, it doesn’t do as much as it should do for the coffers of each club either. UEFA released the financial figures on Wednesday about the payments that each club could expect to receive, from those clubs knocked out in the first qualifying round to the club that ends up winning the tournament at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais next year. Until the final whistle in Glasgow on Wednesday night, there was always the chance that the Europa League would be a tournament that Celtic would be involved in this season. That said, a third place group finish in the CL could still mean a run in Europe’s second club competition so it’s relevant all the same.
A total of nearly £364m will be shared among the clubs who take part in this season’s Europa League. Sixty per cent of that is in fixed payments with the remainder being part of what UEFA call “market pool payments”. Effectively, this is TV money which will be distributed according to the proportional value of each club taking part from the group stage onwards and so is then split among the various teams taking part from any given country. It’s a hefty chunk of change and something that every club across not only Scotland should have been or be fighting to have a large stake in. Sadly for Rangers (IL) and St Johnstone, they only trousered roughly a touch under £200k. For the Perth side, that sum could be massive. For the club from the south of the water, it could keep the lights on for a while longer. Aberdeen fared a little better and managed to earn enough to not quite cover the transfer fees, never mind the wages, for Stevie May and Gary Mackay-Steven, basically the guts of £400k.
The 48 clubs who make it to the group stage can expect a bank transfer from UEFA of nearly £2.4m each. Good news if you’re trying to raise money for a new stadium and training facilities or looking to fix a leaky roof or four. If you have the audacity to win a game in the group stages, expect a further payment of almost £328k and another £109k for every draw. That comes before the bonuses on offer for qualifying from the group. Win your group and you can expect around £550k, with that amount being halved if you finish as a runner up. It all pales into insignificance however when you look at the rest of the cash on offer if you can progress further.
The teams that qualify for the first knockout round can expect another £455k each. Make it to the round of 16 and be prepared to say hello to another £682k. If you’re still going in the last 8, another million is on the way with that and another half a million pounds on top coming for a place in the semi final. Win it and a place in the Champions League for next season is guaranteed as well as another £6m, whilst the runners up have to console themselves with a cool £3m.
The Champions League beckons and it’s an exciting time to be a Celtic fan. Surely though, every club in Scottish football should be pleased at the efforts of Celtic given the financial rewards that they’ll receive. Okay, the solidarity money has to be put towards youth development but better that than buying the likes of a Garner or Waghorn?
It’s a novel idea but sadly, perhaps not one that will catch on any time soon.