Each year the top five European Leagues send a total of eighteen teams to the UEFA Champions League. There are four from England, four from Spain, four from Germany, three from Italy and three from France. Most of these sides either go straight to the group stages or cruise through the playoff rounds (worth €2.1M on their own) without any problem. Once they are in the group stages, they make a lot of money from it.
Here's what UEFA has to say about Champions League money:
Each of the 32 clubs taking part in the UEFA Champions League group stage that kicks off on Tuesday will receive a participation bonus of €3.9m, plus a match bonus of €550,000 per group game played. On top of that, the following performance bonuses will be paid: €800,000 for every win and €400,000 for every draw in the group stage.
In addition, participating clubs will be entitled to a share of the market pool based on the commercial value of their domestic television market, the number of UEFA Champions League matches they play this season and their final position in the domestic league table last term. They will also keep their UEFA Champions League gate receipts.
In other words, that's a good amount of cash. That's great for the teams that make it to the Champions League - they get a mammoth revenue boost compared to their peers and can suddenly become big spenders. It's not great when you're used to having that money and suddenly fall out of contention entirely. Then it's very very bad.
This, of course, is why Chelsea fans were so worried about the club's potential (and then eventual) failure to finish in the top four, even when it became clear that the Blues had another route into the competition. Sure, some of that money has been added to our coffers via a deep run in the current tournament, but failure to qualify for next season represents a significant, painful drop in revenue, and our status is still up in the air.
But this post isn't about Chelsea or the final next Saturday. It's about everyone else who didn't make it in. Here's the list of teams from Europe's bigger leagues that reached the group stages for the 2011/12 season but finished outside of the Champions League spots this season:
- Napoli - 5th place, Serie A
- Villarreal - 18th place, La Liga (relegated)
- Inter Milan - 6th place, Serie A
- Lyon - 4th place, Ligue 1
- Bayer Leverkusen - 5th place, Bundesliga.
- Marseille - 10th place, Ligue 1 (could finish 9th or 11th)
In other words, these are the easy pickings for transfers this summer. These teams - especially Villarreal - are probably going to have to look at tightening up the purse strings a little bit. There are some very, very interesting names on these rosters, so why don't you pick out one or two of your favourites and post them in the comments?
Hopefully Chelsea can win on Saturday. If so we're looking at a potentially huge spending spree this summer. Otherwise, we're going to have to stay relatively quiet. If we don't make it, I doubt we'll have to do any selling thanks to the prize money that comes with being finalists and the fact that we're really really rich, but always better to get more money than less!