ARSENAL are playing for a staggering £50m-plus when they meet Chelsea in the Europa League final.
The May 29 clash in Baku is the Gunners’ last chance to get back into the Champions League after a two-year absence.
But the real reward is not the silver trophy on offer in Baku, but the golden financial inheritance in guarantees.
Arsenal’s run to the final has earned them £31.43m in TV and prize money, which will rise to £34.9m if they beat Chelsea.
Yet merely qualifying for the Champions League will be worth £38.25m next season, BEFORE they even kick a ball in the competition.
Uefa now distribute £508m of their revenues to the 32 group phase teams according to the “10-year historical rankings”, which gives extra bonus points for previous victories in European club competitions.
An Arsenal win in Baku will see them jump into eighth place in the 10-year rankings.
But without Manchester United in the Champions League, the Gunners will move up to seventh place and receive £25.01m as their share.
They also will earn £13.24m as a qualifying bonus.
And while Arsenal would not take an initial share of the £28.9m English TV “market pool”, they would be entitled to a proportion of the second tranche of the same sum, divided between the English sides as a percentage of the games they play over the course of the competition.
That is just the starters for Unai Emery.
Uefa give bonuses of £2.34m for each group stage win, with draws worth £781,000.
But the big bucks then really kick in.
Reaching the last 16 is worth £8.25m, with the quarter-finals adding another £9.11m.
Spurs and Liverpool then bagged a further £10.41m for reaching the semi-finals, with their remarkable comebacks earning both of them a minimum £13.02m.
Next month’s winners in Madrid will take £16.49m.
To underline the comparison, while Arsenal have so far made £64.22m from two seasons in the Europa League, North London rivals Spurs have banked £88.5m from this campaign alone.
And there is a further carrot in the shape of Fifa’s planned 2021 expanded Club World Cup.
While the precise entry criteria have yet to be confirmed, one plan is for the winners of the two major European club competitions for 2019, 2020 and 2021 to be given automatic entry to a tournament which could be worth more than £30m to each club.
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