After the disappointment of going out of Europe in August – for the second year running – the news that UEFA has decided to eject Sion from the Europa League in our favour has cheered us all up. Or has it?
There are obviously some purists who do not like our still being in the tournament on those grounds; others are more concerned that the forthcoming six matches in the Europa League may cause the team to lose sight of the main aim for the season, the winning of the SPL title. Personally, I have little truck with the former but have some sympathy with the latter view.
If Celtic wish to be bracketed among the top teams of Europe, then the club has to spend most seasons involved in the Champions League. That is where the big boys are, it is the more prestigious of the two European competitions and the financial rewards are far greater than those from the Europa League.
UEFA has already issued a list of the money earned by clubs last season in European competition. Each club in the Champions League could have received the following;
For reaching and playing the six matches in the Group stages………7.2 million euros
For group stage performance……………………800,000 euros for a win; 400,000 for a draw
For a reaching a place in the round of 16…3 million euros.
For reaching the QFs…3.3.million euros.
For reaching the SFs…4.2 million euros
For reaching the final, the winner received 9 million euros, the loser 5.6 millon euros
Every club, of course, keeps the receipts from all its home matches and also receives a ‘market pool’ payment, dependent on the value of the domestic markets of that club. So, if we add all that up, then the money received by some well-known names was as follows. The figures are all in euros;-
Barcelona….51,025,000 Manchester United….53,197,000 Chelsea….44,523,000
Tottenham…..31,133,000 Real Madrid….39,288,000 Arsenal….29,983,000
Rangers….18,526,000 ( also received 724,972 for the Europa League last 16 stage)
Even a side like FK Partizan, which did not win or draw a single match, received a payment of 8,510,000.
By contrast, the teams in the Europa League did not fare so well;
Manchester City and Liverpool… both 6,131,224 Porto….7,837,046
Although Braga, conquerors of Celtic in the Champions League qualifying matches, were the exception to the norm, picking up 11,842,000 euros from the CL plus 4,528,191 from the Europa League.
All the above evidence would suggest that it is imperative that Celtic win the SPL this season and the visit of Motherwell to Parkhead at the weekend is a good time to maintain form. There can be little doubt that the Hoops have the better pool of players but those guys in green-and-white must show that on a consistent basis. There can always be after-match discussions like the manager’s choice of team, the tactics used and so on but for any group of players, there are two vital aspects of performance just as crucial now as they have been right through time. They must rise to the challenge and they must not give the ball away. If they do that, then the SPL title can come back to Celtic Park. This is undoubtedly one of the poorest Rangers sides of my years in football; to allow them a fourth consecutive title would be unsettling, to say the least.