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How Crusaders are one tie away from a €1m European windfall


By Graham Luney

Crusaders are banking on a Europa League victory which would see the club hit the €1m jackpot.

If the Crues can overcome Slovenian side Olimpija Ljubljana in the Europa League second qualifying round, their cash windfall from Uefa would smash the €1m (£889,000) mark.

It's a massive financial incentive for Stephen Baxter's side, who - even if their European adventure ends next week - will pocket around £700,000.

The Danske Bank Premiership champions are away to Olimpija Ljubljana for the first leg and will leave Belfast this morning for the match at the Stozice Stadium tomorrow night (7pm).

Uefa bolstered the payments to clubs who qualified for Europe and in a lucrative bonus for Crusaders, they entered the Europa League second qualifying round after losing their Champions League qualifier to Bulgarian giants Ludogorets 9-0 on aggregate.

The second leg will be played at Seaview the following Thursday and if the Crues can get through they will face BATE Borisov or HJK Helsinki in the third qualifying round.

Win that fixture and Baxter's side will net a further €300,000 (£267,000) and face a play-off to reach the Europa League group stages.

The Euro payments are €280,000 (£249,000) for the Champions League fixture, €260,000 (£231,000) for this Europa League qualifier and a further €280,000 if the Crues can make the third qualifying round.

And every domestic champion club that does not qualify for the group stages of the Champions League is guaranteed a solidarity payment from Uefa of around €260,000.

Victory in this Europa League qualifier will see Crusaders claim one of the biggest financial windfalls in Irish League history and the club has introduced a new full-time structure to help maintain that level of success.

Belfast Telegraph

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