When Celtic defeated Lazio, they not only managed to confirm qualification to the last-32, but they also managed to bag a cool €570k of Europa League prize-money.
It’s the third time this season they’ve managed to hook in the maximum amount for a Europa League game from UEFA. In our last three games in the group stage, Celtic have managed to reel in over €1.7m for their successes against Cluj and Lazio (x2).
According to official UEFA figures, Celtic would’ve received €2.92m just by reaching the group stages of the Europa League. When you consider the fact that it’s €570k for a win and €190k for a draw, we’ve already bagged a total of around €1.9m so far on performance-relates bonuses alone. When you add on the qualification bonus for the groups, we should have just under €5m in the bank.
So now we move forward. We’ve just about completed our group stage having already qualified for the next round. Just for qualifying, we’re guaranteed an extra €500k.
However, if we manage it as group winners, that effectively doubles. UEFA state that group winners can expect to receive a bonus payment of €1m. That’s not including the over €1.1m still up for grabs for our final two group games.
A positive final two games of the groups can therefore bring us a maximum of €2.1m (£1.8m). It’s not exactly Champions League money, but it could effectively be an extra player in January, for example.
Celtic will want to get as much money from these group stages as possible. Rennes at Celtic Park and Cluj away are both winnable games respectively. With a chance at more prize-money for each victory, you can bet Celtic will stay motivated right up until the end of the campaign.
Of course, professional pride also plays a huge part here. It’s not often that Celtic can top a European group stage. In fact, we’ve never managed it in our entire history. So the players would surely love to be the first to do so.
It remains to be seen how many changes Neil Lennon makes for these final two matches. But don’t expect there to be too many – not with pride and prize-money still up for grabs.