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Tournament set to be a big earner for Irish FA


Draw date: IFA boss Jim Shaw is in Paris for Uefa event

Draw date: IFA boss Jim Shaw is in Paris for Uefa event

Photopress Belfast

Draw date: IFA boss Jim Shaw is in Paris for Uefa event

The Irish FA will pick up a whopping £5.7m from next summer's European Championships, with the opportunity for the team to bank even more cash for the association in performance-related bonuses.

And with other incomes a sum of around £10m is expected to be poured into local football, thanks to Northern Ireland's qualification.

On the eve of the draw for the Euro 2016 finals in Paris, which will be attended by IFA president Jim Shaw, chief executive Patrick Nelson and manager Michael O'Neill, Uefa confirmed the prize pot for the 24 competing nations, which totals a massive £217m.

That is a huge increase from the £141m that was shared between the 16 countries that competed at the last European finals in Poland and Ukraine in 2012.

There will be a million reasons to celebrate if Northern Ireland win a group game in the finals, with a €1m (£725,000) bonus for each victory.

In drawn matches the cash, as well as the points, is shared, with £360,000 for each team.

If O'Neill can take Northern Ireland even further into the competition there will be a further £1.08m bonus for reaching the last 16.

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And with the expansion of the tournament from 16 teams to 24 meaning that only the bottom teams from all six groups and two third placed teams going home after the round-robin stage there is every possibility of Northern Ireland going through.

When shirt sales, merchandising, sponsorship bonuses and the income from at least two home friendlies that O'Neill's team will play in preparation for the finals the IFA's coffers will swell even more.

O'Neill has been waiting for the draw before finalising friendly opponents.

Northern Ireland are expected to play two matches in March, with a further two in late May and early June before the team heads to France for the finals.