Football This Week: Nõmme Kalju to be Handed Champions League Windfall
Football team Nõmme Kalju will net at least 580,000 euros this season thanks to a win Tuesday that saw them beat Finnish champions HJK Helsinki 2-1 to progress to the third qualifying round of the Champions League.
The win did not come without sacrifice, as head coach Igor Prins shaved his long hair off today, as part of a pre-match promise. Assistant coach Fredo Getulio Aurelio, a middle-aged Brazilian man, dyed his hair blond.
The first leg match against HJK ended goalless in Helsinki, but Kalju, the Estonian champions, picked up their first ever win in a international competition in front of nearly 5,000 fans in Tallinn.
Next up is Viktoria Plzeň of the Czech Republic, next week, with the winner set for a 2.1 million euro jackpot, more than double Kalju's current 900,000 euro annual budget.
Soccernet.ee calculated that Kalju will pocket at least 580,000 euros this year from international tournaments, even if they lose all remaining games.
Kalju will receive 140,000 for beating HJK, and even if they lose to the Czechs, they will be entered into the Europa League, meaning 100,000 euros if they fail to progress from the first round.
UEFA has already given Kalju 140,000 euros for participation, and will add to that 200,000 euros if they fail to make it past Champions League qualifiers.
However, if they do manage to beat the Czechs, and the next opponents, they will land a cool 8.6 million euros for managing to reach the Champions League.
Prins will have to find many vows to make it to the final, but it could be worth it, as last year's champions, Bayern Munich of Germany earned over 55 million euros.
Levadia still in the hunt
FC Flora and Narva Trans both fell at the first hurdle in their European adventures this year, but FC Levadia beat Bala Town from Wales 3-2 over two games, to make it to the next qualifying round of the Europa League.
Levadia's opponents, Targu Jiu Pandurii of Romania, already visited Tallinn for the first leg, a goalless draw, with the second leg set for tonight in Romania.