With the momentum of the international break, the debate around the Estonian national team and Raio Piiroja’s farewell night in Tallinn, a piece of news might have gone unnoticed.
The announcement comes from ECA (European Clubs Association – an organization of clubs from all over Europe, Estonia is represented by Flora and Levadia) and UEFA and concerns the Estonian clubs who will make it to the European competitions for the years to come.
This is the official release by ECA:
The meaning of this agreement is that, starting from season 2015-16, there will be more money in the pockets of the Estonian clubs qualifying for the European Champions League and Europa League preliminaries.
The new system is well illustrate in the memorandum document.
On slide ‘Solidarity Payments – Qualifying Rounds’ (see screenshot below) are shown the new amounts of payment awarded to the clubs.
For instance, 200,000€ awarded to the teams in the first qualifier (Q1). This is where Levadia started their short adventure last season against San Marino’s La Fiorita in 2014-15 Champions League and where they will start also 2015-16 season (see UEFA access list here).
If they got 150,000€ last season, they will get an additional 50,000€ for 2016-17 campaign.
Making it to the second qualifier (Q2) would mean earning 300,000€ as opposed to 175,000€ from last season.
The Europa League increase is also quite significant from first qualifiers (Q1 – check Europa League access list here).
Let's say the same teams would qualify for Europa League 2006-17: Sillamäe, FC Flora and Nõmme Kalju.
From 120,000€, Sillamäe will see 200,000€ in their counters. Each passage of leg sees a regular increase of 10,000€.
The other teams in Europa League (Flora and Nõmme Kalju) will see the same amount of money coming: 200,000€ for the first qualifiers.
A lot of money for the Estonian top clubs. However, also the risk, highlighted by several observers, of increasing the gap domestically with the remaining clubs competing in the top-flights.