Monday, July 30, 2018

The essentials about Valencia's champs league participation

Last season Valencia achieved what most of us doubted last summer: a return to the UEFA Champions league. The draw for the group stage will take place a month from today, though qualifying rounds have already been played for the last five weeks. Compared to when Valencia last played there in 2015-16 several changes have been made. The biggest one has been to have increased numbers of qualifying rounds for the majority of less successful federations, but give the 4th placed team from the top 4 automatic entry to the CL group stage. 

Last time round, VCF had to play a qualifier and despite being seeded, got a tough opponent in Monaco FC, who they edged. Had the old system continued, Valencia would have been unseeded in the last qualifying round and could have faced a tough tie against someone like Liverpool or Roma. That change is good news for us. 

The second change which is good news is that the cash on offer has increased by nearly half, from €1.35 billion to €1.95 billion. Last time out, VCF took home 27m, picking up another 2.1m from the Europa league. We stand to make a lot more this time.

VCF's champs league earnings will come four ways: a participation fee, a 10-year ranking, market pool and performance bonuses.

The first is the easiest to explain. Every team that plays in the group stage gets 15.25 million. 

The 10-year ranking is new for this year. Basically, there are 528 "shares" split between the 32 clubs based on their performances in the previous 10 seasons in European competitions. Each share is worth 1.108 million. The highest ranked team (Real Madrid) gets 32 shares, the second and third teams (Barca and Bayern) 31 and 30 respectively, down to the 32nd team which gets one share. Valencia are provisionally eighteenth in the ranking so will get at least 15 shares for a total of 16.6 million. However, that could increase if either Benfica or Basle (or both) get knocked out in qualifying. In that case Valencia would get 17.7 or 18.8 million. 

The market pool is another way of saying tv revenue. That seems to have been cut in half this season, with the money going instead to the 10-year ranking. UEFA don't release these figures until the October or November after the champions league final, so we don't yet know what teams got last season, but working off previous seasons, it seems like Spanish teams will get 8.8 million for Barca, 6.6 for Atleti, 4.4 million for R.Madrid and 2.2 million for us. Teams will also get about half a million per game they play, so provisionally, about 5.2 million for Valencia for the group stage.

Lastly, there's performance bonus. Each champs league group stage game has prize money of 2.7 million. If a team wins, that's easy, they get all of it. If it's a draw, it gets more complicated. Each team gets 900,000 with the remaining 900,000 put into a pot and split between teams based on the number of games they won. Roughly speaking, that means a win is worth close on 3 million and a draw 900,000.

Getting to the last sixteen earns 9.5 million. Reaching the quarters adds 10.5 million. Those amounts aren't cumulative so VCF would get 20 million in prize money for reaching those two rounds. Semis add 12 million and reaching the final earns 15 million. The winners get 4 million on top of that and qualify for the UEFA Super cup where the winners get 4.5 million and the losers 3.5 million.

So worst case scenario, VCF loses all 6 games we still earn 37 million.
Best case scenario, Basle and Benfica eliminated, VCF wins everything (we might as well think big) we get 116 million.

I think all that shows just how important it is for us to make the CL a regular thing instead of once every 3 or 4 seasons. 

The biggest problem is that 2 years of not qualifying for Europe at all have really hurt Valencia's ranking. Last time round we were ranked 14th and comfortably made it into pot 2. For now, we are 21st, which would be pot 3, but there are a number of teams in qualifying with a higher ranking than us: Benfica, Basel, Dynamo Kyiv and Ajax in the league route, which has 2 qualifying places, and Ludogorets, Salzburg and PSV in the champions route, which has 4 places. To get pot 3, we need to hope that no more than 3 of the 6 qualifiers have a higher ranking than us. Most likely that means seeing Ludogorets, who drew 0-0 at home in the first leg, getting knocked out this week and 1 of PSV or Salzburg failing to make it. Pot 3 would mean our easiest team could be Bruges, Plzen or Galatasaray instead of Liverpool, Roma or Schalke.

A crunch season ahead, hopefully we won't crash and burn like we did last time.