Cyprus football clubs lost a combined €15.5 mln in 2021 as big spenders failed to yield profits still being hammered by COVID, but also their poor performance did not help put out the financial fire.
Half of the 12 topflight 14 teams playing in this season’s First Division closed their books in the red, but €14.5 mln losses were absorbed by three clubs, Champions, Apollon Limassol, and Cup Winners Omonia Nicosia and APOEL Nicosia, who finished the season third.
The remaining six clubs generated less than one million euros, with AEK Larnaca making €584,793.
In comments to the Financial Mirror, a Cyprus Football Association official pinned losses mainly to the top teams’ poor performance in the European tournaments last year and their failed campaigns in the Cyprus league.
“Cypriot teams pin their financial fates on acquiring one of four, occasionally five, tickets to a major European tournament, namely the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League, which can generate income from between €5 mln up to €20 mln,” said the official.
Cyprus Football Association’s latest report on club finances revealed that APOEL Nicosia lost €9.3 mln. This is the highest loss made by a Cypriot team in a single season.
APOEL’s poor performance last year left the team in the bottom half of the table, missing out on one of the European tournaments.
The official said this meant that APOEL missed out on several million flowing into the club’s coffers.
“The team continued to perform poorly at the start of this season, further disappointing its supporters, who have grown accustomed to its successes.”
APOEL’s greatest moment in European competition occurred in the 2011–12 season, when they advanced out of the group stage of the UEFA Champions League (winning a group that included FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Zenit St. Petersburg), eliminated Olympique Lyonnais in the last 16, to become the first Cypriot team to reach the quarterfinals.
This year APOEL will be starting its campaign in the second preliminary round of the Europa Conference League, which means they must knock out three teams to get to the group stage.
APOEL is followed by arch-rivals and this year’s Cup Winners Omonia Nicosia with losses of €3.24 mln.
Nicosia’s Greens were last year’s champions, starting their European campaign from the Champions League’s second preliminary round.
The club failed to beat Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb, losing 0-1 at home and 2-0 away and was demoted to play in the second preliminary round of the Europa League.
Omonia managed to squeeze past Flora Tallinn (Estonia) in a penalty shootout after winning 1-0 at home and losing the normal game 2-1 away.
The team went on to play Antwerp in the playoffs of the Europa League.
Despite a win over the Belgians with 4-2 at home following a great performance, the greens crumbled under the pressure of Belgium, losing the game 2-0 and qualification in a penalty shootout (3-2).
The team had automatically qualified for the Europa Conference league, where it could only get 4 points, with four draws.
“In the domestic league, last year’s champions performed poorly, finding themselves in the relegation playoffs, disappointing their fans who preferred to stay home,” said the official.
This year’s champions, Apollon Limassol, reported losses of €1.94 mln.
They got off to a very poor start to the season, dropping out of its European campaign early on.
Apollon had been knocked out in the second preliminary round of the Europa Conference League by Slovak MŠK Žilina after drawing 2-2 away but losing 1-3 at home.
Next season, Apollon will start their campaign in the third preliminary round, meaning that the team will find itself in the Europa Conference League in the worst-case scenario.
The other two European tickets were grabbed by AEK Larnaca and first-timers Aris Limassol.
AEK finishing second in the league, grabbed a Champions League ticket, launching their European campaign from the second preliminary round.
Aris Limassol, a team that had grown accustomed to being relegated from the topflight in recent years, is in the Conference league, starting from the second preliminary round.
Making it to a Champions League group could bring in anything from €15 to €20 mln, while a single victory in the group stage is worth €2.8 mln and a draw €930,000.
Meanwhile, each team that makes it to the UEFA Europa League group stage will earn €3.63 mln.
Teams in the group stage get €630,000 per match victory and €210,000 per match drawn.
Making it to the Europa Conference Group stage will generate €2.94 mln.
A team winning a group stage fixture in the UEFA Europa Conference League gets €500,000, while a draw means contesting teams earn €166,000 each.
Cyprus’ top team budget is estimated to be between €6 and €10 mln.
Team losses for 2021
APOEL FC – € 9,271,614
OMONIA FC – € 3,246,289
Apollon Limassol – € 1,939,555
AEL Limassol – € 620,980
Karmiotissa – € 180,232
Ethnikos Achnas – € 128,119
Paralimni – € 59,437
Profits for 2021
AEK Larnaca € 584,793
Anorthosis Famagusta + € 130,750
Aris Limassol +€117,869
Doxa + € 30,516
Olympiacos + € 55,885
Paphos FC + € 11,780