Football and money go hand in hand, especially in the modern game, but calculations by Eesti Päevaleht reveal that most footballers in Estonia's top league earn less than the national average.
Out of the ten teams in the Premium Liiga, as the top flight is called, only six consider themselves a professional team, meaning the majority of players receive a salary for taking part in games and training, Eesti Päevaleht reported, adding that around 100 footballers in Estonia receive a monthly salary.
The daily studied the financial reports of the top teams, and talked to those close to the clubs. It found that Sillamäe Kalev, currently fifth in the league and overall second last year, is the most generous club, paying up to 2,000 euros net to its few top players, with a few more earning around 1,500 euros a month.
The daily also calculated that Estonian national team players receive around 3,000 euros per month in Estonia's league teams, as UEFA plays a club if its player is called up for national team duties, such as Nõmme Kalju players Ats Purje, Ken Kallaste and Joel Lindpere, who were all starters in the 0-1 defeat to Slovenia two weeks ago.
FC Flora, current league leader, pays its top players around 1,500 euros per month, net, while FC Levadia, current champions, pays less, but offers free accommodation to some of the players, with Narva Trans paying its top footballers around 800 euros per month, which is just about the national average.
The four amateur teams in the league, Pärnu Linnameeskond, Viljandi Tulevik, Tartu Tammeka and Paide Linnameeskond, usually only offer small bonuses for regularly taking part in training or winning a game, amounting to around 200 euros each month, although there are one or two professional players in the four teams, such as Martin Vunk (Pärnu) and Sander Post (Viljandi).
The current league table is a perfect reflexion of what money can do. The top six teams are all professionals, with Flora on top on 66 points and Narva Trans sixth on 42 points. All four amateur teams have between 22 points (Pärnu) and 20 points (Paide). Viljandi and Tartu have 21 points each in the league.
Editor: J.M. Laats