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What is the difference in prize money between the Champions League and Europa League?

Playing in the Champions League has become the be-all and end-all for Europe’s elite clubs for financial as well as sporting reasons.

Playing in the Champions League has become the be-all and end-all for Europe’s elite clubs for financial as well as sporting reasons.
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On Wednesday, Manchester City and Inter, as expected, saw off the challenges of Bayern Munich and Benfica respectively to book their places in the semi-finals of the Champions League. Pep Guardiola’s men have tough task of taking on reigning champions Real Madrid in the last four, while Simone Inzaghi’s side will fight it out with city rivals and San Siro co-tenants Milan for a place in the final in Istanbul.

Manchester United face Sevilla battle to reach Europa League semi-final

The second legs of the Europa League quarter-finals take centre stage of Thursday, with Manchester United still just about the favourites to win a competition they’d probably rather not be in, despite throwing away a 2-0 first-leg lead against Sevilla at Old Trafford last week. Obviously, the Andalusians are still in with a chance of regaining ‘their’ trophy. Juventus (1-0 ahead) are in the driving seat in their tie ahead of the home leg against Sporting Clube de Portugal, with Feyenoord are in exactly the same situation against Roma. Xavi Alonso’s Bayer Levekusen will hope home advantage will help them see off Belgian side Union Saint-Gilloise.

And, of course, we shouldn’t forget the Europa Conference League, which is at the same stage. Fiorentina and Anderlecht look almost certain to play in the semi-finals, with the ties between Nice and Basel, and Gent and West Ham United hanging in the balance.

Europa League the second prize for Manchester United and Juventus

Erik Ten Hag’s United have been the bookmakers’ favourites to win the Europa League since they eliminated Barcelona in the playoff round, although they’ve given themselves plenty of work to do in their tie against Sevilla. The reality is, though, that the Europa League is a competition that the Red Devils are disappointed to even be in and the same goes for Juve, who have also had lengthy periods of playing in the Champions League year after year.

And it is not just from an on-field perspective that these ‘elite’ clubs want to be playing against the best. Not being there hits them in the pocket, which is a huge disadvantage for clubs not from England in particular, where TV money is less lucrative. Even so, we have all seen the likes of United, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool desperately battling it out to finish fourth in the Premier League, for the Champions League money as much as for actually playing in the Champions League itself.

Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League prize money

And the figures which show how much money clubs receive for reaching the different stages of the three UEFA competitions illustrate why:

Champions LeagueEuropa LeagueEuropa Conference League
Group stage€15.64m ($17.17m)€3.63m ($3.98m)€2.94m ($3.23m)
Round of 16€9.6m ($10.54m)€1.2m ($1.32m)€600,000 ($658,530)
Quarter-finals€10.6m ($11.63m)€1.8m ($1.98m)€1m ($1.1m)
Semi-finals€12.5m ($13.72m)€2.8m ($3.07m)€2m ($2.2m)
Final€15.5m ($17.01m)€4.6m ($5.05m)€3m ($3.29m)
Winners€20m ($21.95m)€8.6m ($9.44m)€5m ($5.49m)

Just reaching the Champions League group stage is the main objective for a whole host of clubs across the continent, especially those from smaller nations with fewer resources. In reality, the Europa League prize money is not too far removed from the Europa Conference League, with the Champions League completely dwarfing both. That point is reinforced even further when you consider that the Champions League winners will take home a total of €83.84 million ($92.02 million) in prize money (for featuring in every round), compared to €22.63 million ($24.83 million) in the Europa League and €14.54 million ($15.96 million) in the Europa Conference League.


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