Omonia makes €8 mln from historic Champions League victory

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Omonia Nicosia is seeing its European dream turn green, after knocking out Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League advancing to the playoffs for the first time in its 72-year history.

Qualification over Red Star is set to bring in another €8 mln, of which €5 mln is a bonus for participating in the Champions League playoffs even if knocked out by Greek opponent Olympiacos Piraeus.

The losing sides in the playoffs go the group stage of the Europa League, the secondary UEFA competition.

If Omonia does not beat Olympiacos, it will bag the €5 mln bonus along while another €2.92 mln awarded to the club for its participation in the Europa League.

The team has reached the UCL playoffs after beating Ararat Armenia, Legia Warsaw and on Wednesday night Red Star Belgrade.

Wednesday night’s game ended 1-1, with the two teams goalless in extra time.

Omonia qualified after beating Red Star in the penalty shootout 4-2 with keeper Fabiano Ribeiro de Freitas (Fabiano) saving two penalties.

Earnings from participating in Europe will be added to money already in the bank from the club’s Champions League exploits so far.

The club’s exploits so far have garnered €1.2 mln with some €280,000 from the team’s participation in the first preliminary round of the Champions League, €380,000 from the second round, and €480,000 from the third round.

In the event, Omonia beats Olympiacos Piraeus in the two-leg playoff, then the club is set for the big money with a €15.2 mln payment for qualifying to the Champions’ League group stage.

Omonia will also receive an improved points coefficient according to its overall performance in European tournaments over the past 10 years.

In the Champions League, the prize money is €2.7 mln for every win and €900,000 for every draw.

While in the Europa League Group stages it’s a lower €570,000 for a win while every draw is €190,000.

Following Wednesday’s qualification, the club’s New York-based Cypriot investor Stavros Papastavrou is seeing his investment in the club starting to payoff, following a disappointing first season when he took over in 2018-19.

Omonia has returned to the lucrative Champions League after a decade absence, but it is now a step away from entering the group stage.

The club is playing in Europe’s top tournament after it was awarded first place in the league but not the title when last season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Papastavrou took over in 2018 after appearing out of the blue, pledging to invest more than €30 mln.

Despite initial hesitations and organised fans leaving to set-up a new team, Papastavrou became chairman in May 2018.

The New York-based investor made good on his word from day one saving the team by directly injecting €1.5 mln, crucial for the club to pass UEFA’s financial criteria, which the club could not have met otherwise.

He also absorbed €9.5 mln of the club’s €15 mln debt, promising the football team will receive €5 mln every year for transfers and the payroll.