It makes sense that I end this series (for now, anyways) writing about qualifying for Europe. The first edition of Premiership Primer focused on relegation. Now it's time to see what can happen should your club rise to the heights of the Premiership.
As I've mentioned before, the Premiership is good. Really good. Arguably the best league in the world. And that's not just me talking. UEFA's co-efficients say as much as well. Those co-efficients are based on the results of the clubs of a certain league in UEFA Champions League and Europa League play during the past five years. So, when you have four teams make the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League, as the Premiership did last year (one of which made the final), it bodes well. The Europa League also counts. English sides didn't fare as well there, with only Liverpool and Manchester City making the knockout stage. As of right now, based on those co-efficients, the Premiership is awarded four spots into the Champion's League and three spots in the Europa League, making for seven total spots in European play.
In the Premiership, the top three clubs at the end of the season are entered into next season's Champions League at the Group Stage. Last season, those clubs are Manchester City, Chelsea, and champions Manchester United) The fourth place club, Arsenal a year ago, is placed in the Champions League Playoff Round.
Qualifying for the Europa League is a little more varied than just finishing at the top of the table. This year's English participants include Tottenham Hotspur (who finished fifth), Fulham qualified by being the highest ranked team on the UEFA Fair Play table (basically rewarded for good sportsmanship), Stoke City qualified by finishing second in the FA Cup to Manchester City (who as mentioned earlier is in this year's Champion's League), and Birmingham City, despite being relegated, qualified because they won the Football League Cup. The FA Cup is a huge tournament featuring 759 teams from 10 levels of football in England. The Football League Cup is a slightly smaller affair, featuring only 92 teams. Newcastle fans may remember this as the competition in which we beat Chelsea 4-3. Lets not talk about the next round....focus on the positives! The domestic cups give clubs a chance of qualifying for European play.
The upside to qualifying? Well other than added international recognition (especially for the Champion's League), there's the financial bonus as well. Winning the Europa League final nets a club 3 million Euros (4.2 million dollars). Simply appearing in the first playoff round is worth 90,000 Euros (just shy of 130,000 dollars). For the Champions League, that money goes up. Winning the whole tournament is worth 9 million Euros. It should be noted though that a large part of the revenue distributed from both competitions is based on the value of the television market in each country. For example, last season, Manchester United and Bayern Munich made more money than Barcelona, despite Barcelona winning the whole thing. I should point out that clubs get paid for each game they play. So, last season, Manchester United netted just over 38 million Euros all together for playing in the Champions League. Even teams that did not reach the knockout stage made as much as 16 million Euros for participating.
Qualifying for Europe is something all clubs strive for. Newcastle has some history playing in European competitions, the last one being the 2006-07 UEFA Cup (a pre-cursor to the Europa League) where they made it to the Round of 16. As for who goes to the European contests next season, we'll start determining that in a week.
Thanks to everyone who read the Premiership Primer. I hope you learned something about the league. I certainly had fun writing it. Also, a big thanks to Rob who promoted them to the front page. Now on to the season and.....HOWAY THE LADS!