European prize money isn’t the be-all and end-all for fans, but there’s no denying last night’s Champions League exit was a disaster.
Cluj waltzed out of Parkhead with a fine 5-4 aggregate victory over Neil Lennon’s side. The Romanians inexplicably scored four goals on the night at Celtic Park. It was a roller-coaster of emotions, but it ended as a free-fall drop.
So let’s do the not so nice work of breaking down just how much money we’ve actually missed out on. All figures in this piece have come directly from UEFA’s official prize-money numbers for the Champions League (CL) and Europa League (EL) respectively.
Losing last night cost us a playoff place against Slavia Prague for a spot at the CL top table. Just for entering that round, we would have earned €5m just for competing in the contest. Yet, for dropping into the Europa playoffs, we would only manage €300k if we lost out to Sheriff or AIK.
Of course, that won’t be on the agenda. Progressing to the EL groups is an absolute must. So what would the payment be if we managed it?
Progression would see Celtic rake in €2.92m. It’s hardly anything to sing about. If we had managed to KO Slavia in the CL playoffs, we would’ve been looking at a sum of €15.25m. That’s around a £12m decrease for dropping down.
Progression to the last-16 of the CL likely would never have been possible. The days of us reaching the latter stages of the CL appear to be over, at least for now. However, those that progress to that stage would receive another €9.5m.
European prize-money differs immensely
The furthest we’ve progressed in the Europa League is to the last-32 stage. Over the last two years, we’ve been knocked out by both Zenit St Petersburg and Valencia. And if we are to reach that level of the competition once again, we would only be entitled to a ridiculously paltry €500k on top of the group stage fee of €2.92m.
Even having a look at the performance-related bonuses is enough to get you down too. For the CL, winning a group stage match bags you €2.7m alone. That’s over five times more than actual progression to the EL knockout stages.
Compare it to a win in the EL groups and you’re only looking at €570k. A draw in the groups results in €900k from the CL and €190k from the EL.
The figures are there in black and white. Last night alone cost us a guaranteed €5m. Delve a bit deeper, however, and the gap between the two competitions is cataclysmic.
None of this is including the drop Celtic will receive in supporters buying European match packages.
Expect this to be enough for us not to make the big-money signings we were hoping for.