The prospect of qualifying for Europe this season is becoming an increasingly realistic one for Sheffield United.
Heading into their 27th Premier League match of 2019/20 against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, the Blades are sixth in the table with 39 points.
Their chances of finishing in a qualification place for the Champions League or Europa League has been further increased by Manchester City’s ban for breaching Financial Fair Play rules.
Man City will appeal UEFA’s decision to expel them from European club competitions for the next two years. But if it is upheld, fifth place will become a Champions League spot – assuming City finish in the top four.
This will also have a knock-on effect for Europa League qualification. Currently the fifth-placed team and the FA Cup and Carabao Cup winners qualify. If the cup winners have already qualified, it will go to sixth and seventh.
With City’s ban, that means that the side as low as eighth this term could reach the Europa League.
How much would qualifying for Europe be worth to Sheffield United?
If United do find themselves in Europe in 2020/21, that will have significant financial benefits.
The official UEFA website broke down the prize money given to teams in last year’s Champions League. As things stand, all four English participants advance straight to the group stage.
Assuming finances will be similar next campaign (or possibly a little higher), then each of the 32 sides in the group stage are allocated around £12.7m. A £2.3m bonus is given for a group stage win, while a draw is worth £750,000.
The 16 teams that progress to the knockout phase receive a further £8m. The quarter-final clubs get £8.7m more, then £10m for the semis and the two sides that reach the final get an extra £12.5m. The winner also gets another £3.3m.
A further £831,000 is also given incrementally to each club depending on their UEFA coefficient. So the lowest ranked team of the 32 gets £831,000, with it increasing by the same amount up the list. The highest ranked gets £28.6m.
With the Blades having no European history, their coefficient would be low. Possibly even the lowest.
Then there is the TV money, worth £242m. That is split among the clubs depending on the value of their TV market.
What about the Europa League?
Even for those who qualify for the Europa League, the numbers still stack up. All 48 clubs that reach the group stage get £2.4m apiece. A win in the group is worth £474,000, a draw is £156,000.
For progression there is £415,000 on offer for the last 32, £914,000 for the last 16, £1.25m for the quarter-finals, £2m for the semis, and £3.8m for the final. The winner gets an additional £3.3m.
As for coefficients, they start at £59,000 for the lowest ranked team and rise to £2.8m for the highest. A further £139.5m is available for TV revenue.