EXCLUSIVE By Wayne Veysey
Celtic’s bitter disappointment at missing out on this season’s Champions League has been sweetened by the promise of a guaranteed £3.6million windfall, Football Insider understands.
Uefa figures show the Scottish champions will pocket the sum from competing in the Europa League this season regardless of how they perform in the group stages starting in a fortnight’s time.
A Celtic source has told Football Insider the club are hopeful of generating more than £7million from the competition through top-up cash from prize money, the TV pool, their Uefa co-efficient ranking, gate receipts and commercial spin-offs.
That would increase even further should Neil Lennon’s side progress from the group stages into the knockout rounds as they did last season.
Uefa’s Europa League distribution data shows that Celtic will earn £2.6m from their group stage allocation and £1million for progressing through three Champions League qualification rounds.
Celtic have not yet posted their 2018-19 financial results but they are set to show how the Europa League helped partly compensate last season for the shattering financial blow of failing to reach the Champions League group stages for the third consecutive campaign under ex-boss Brendan Rodgers.
Lennon’s side have dropped into the six-match Europa League group stage for the second season in a row after their two-legged defeat to AIK.
Celtic have been pitted against Lazio, Rennes and Cluj, with the first fixture scheduled for 19 September when they travel to France.