UEFA Riches In Store

SSE Airtricity League Champions Dundalk have already earned €800,000 simply by being in the draw for yesterday’s Preliminary Qualifying Round of the Champions League.

If they beat Latvian Champions Riga FC, ranked 30 of the 32 teams in the draw they will nudge that return up beyond €1 million with another €400,000.

Linfield drew Norwegian Champions Rosenborg while Celtic face a trip to Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Victory here puts either side through to the next round of qualifying from which six clubs will eventually emerge to play in the Group Stages.

Getting that far last year would have yielded €15.25 million before a ball was kicked, as well as the spin-off benefits in terms of exposure and sponsorship.

The players are away on their mid-season break at the moment but the heads of the administrators in Dundalk will be dizzy at the prospect that lies before them.

In the Europa League, 21 teams emerge from the playoffs to take their place alongside Arsenal, Manchester United and AC Milan.

There are three Irish teams hoping to progress. Shamrock Rovers face SK Braan of Norway. Cork City will take on the winners of Progres Niederkorn and Welsh University side Cardiff Metropolitan while St Patricks Athletic will take on Sweden’s Norrkoping.

Ballymena got perhaps the toughest of the draws facing Malmo.

The prize money for making it to the next round will be around €500,000 making this something of a priority for each of the sides.

Home and away ties in both competitions take place next month.


Image Credit: Inpho.ie

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