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How much Europa League progression is worth to Irish League sides tonight

 

By Steven Beacom

Irish League clubs Cliftonville, Coleraine and Glenavon are in for a financial windfall of around £500,000 if any of them can make it through tonight's Europa League ties.

All three sides enter the second leg of their first round qualifying matches with genuine hope that they can progress, with Glenavon perhaps best placed of the three in Norway leading Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Molde side 2-1 after a memorable encounter at Mourneview Park in the first leg.

Coleraine drew 1-1 away in Serbia last week against Spartak Subotica and will fancy their chances at the Showgrounds, while Cliftonville must overcome a 1-0 deficit versus Nordsjaelland in Denmark.

The three teams are assured of £214,000 (€240,000) from Uefa for qualifying for Europe, but by making the next phase would bring in a further £232,000 (€260,000).

That would add up to prize money just shy of £450,000 and could increase to a cool half a million with gate receipts, merchandise sales and potential television revenue.

If Glenavon, Coleraine or Cliftonville could go a step further into the third qualifying round they would land another £250,000 on top showing once again the value of European football to local sides.

As domestic champions, Crusaders are guaranteed at least £700,000, having dropped into the Europa League after losing to Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets in the Champions League.

Glenavon will start the ball rolling tonight with a 5pm start, next up is Cliftonville who kick-off at 6.30pm followed by Coleraine's game at the Showgrounds at 7.45pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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