Thursday 29 September 2016

Dundalk’s Euro stars eye €1.5m qualifying bonus

Champions League joy worth small fortune to underdogs

Published 11/08/2016 | 02:30

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Dundalk's players are in line to share a seven-figure bonus if they make history by beating Legia Warsaw and progress into the group stages of the Champions League.

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The Lilywhites's earnings from their remarkable European run will move past the €15m mark if they triumph in their two-legged tie with the Polish top dogs.

And it's believed that Stephen Kenny's squad agreed a deal at the start of the adventure which would see them secure more than 10pc of the club's take.

That would represent a substantial pay-out given that most of Dundalk's players are on standard League of Ireland contracts which means they don't get paid through the winter months and have to seek alternative employment to make ends meet.

That will alter slightly this year as they are guaranteed group-stage football in the Champions League or Europa League that will keep them busy until December.

The specific amounts earned by each squad member will vary depending on their appearances but, in simple terms, it means that their European success could net each player a pay-out that will be worth far more than their annual salary.

Dundalk's epic win over BATE Borisov has opened the door to a new world for Kenny's players, although it has affected their league form with last night's loss in Bray adding to Friday's reverse in Galway.

The focus will now turn to next Wednesday's first leg in the Aviva Stadium - a game which will feature a notable landmark as it will be the first time for goal-line technology to be used in Ireland.

Dundalk are footing the cost of paying for the Hawk-Eye equipment to meet the advanced criteria for this stage of the tournament.

UEFA have gradually embraced the technology and decided in January of this year to introduce it to their major competitions.

Read more: Bray pile on agony as Euro hangover threatens Dundalk

It was put in place for the Europa League and Champions League finals and then Euro 2016.

UEFA ruled that it would be introduced for this season's Champions League from the play-off round onwards but it will not be active in the Europa League, with the governing body due to make a call for the 2017-18 renewal depending on how the experiment works.

The Hawk-Eye system deploys seven cameras in each goal with software tracking the ball and indicating if a goal has been scored within one second via a vibration signal to the referee's watch.

Dundalk have released a ticket pricing strategy which they hope will deliver a strong response from the Irish public with entry fees for adults ranging from €10 to €30.

Tickets for children (under-12) are available for €5 once they are purchased with an adult ticket. And, to attract schoolboy clubs, a free adult ticket is available when six children's tickets are purchased.

As it stands, only the lower tiers of the stadium will be opened which means a capacity crowd of about 19,000 but the organisers are hopeful that demand will necessitate the opening of other parts of the ground.

Meanwhile, Limerick will have home advantage for the EA Sports Cup final on September 17 after the toss of a coin went in their favour, meaning that St Patrick's Athletic face their 11th away game in a row in the competion. The match is likely to attract a huge crowd to the Market's Field.

Irish Independent

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