Wales the big winners in Euro Millions prize fund

Financial windfall of European Championship also set to be big benefit to Iceland

Having clearly spent their money well in their country's good times, the Icelandic FA will now get another chance to invest in the future of football on the island after its team earned €14 million in prize money at Euro 2016.

The money is more than the English or either Irish association took away from the tournament and is a huge windfall by the standards of an organisation whose total annual investment in new capital projects over the last few years has ranged from roughly €130,000 to €500,000.

The association has been widely credited with laying the foundations for the current success more than a decade ago when a string of indoor football centres were built and an ambitious programme of coach education embarked upon.

Massive boom

But the bulk of the money, much of which came from local authorities and central government, was spent during a massive boom for the country and when the economy crashed it quickly dried up.


In more normal times, the limited finances of the association, which is tiny, with just 22,000 registered players and 400 non-amateurs, means that it is not usually able to fund major projects. Joint manager Lars Lagerback sees the money won here by the team as having potential to help develop the next generation of stars.

“The clubs and the football association can use the income from this tournament to put into important football projects, like developing young players,” he says.

The FAI, meanwhile, took home €11 million from the tournament, half a million more than the IFA thanks to the additional point the Republic of Ireland team earned during the group stages and figure for the English would have been €11.5 million, although that is a drop in the ocean to an association whose last published accounts show a turnover of some €395 million.

Aside from the Icelanders, the biggest winners are set to be the Welsh. Having guaranteed themselves prize money of at least €18 million already, they go into their semi-final against Portugal knowing that a win would earn them at least €5 million more although with both the title and a place at the Confederations Cup up for grabs, the real value could be considerably more.

While the losing finalists here in France get that €5 million over and above the prize money amassed up until this point, the winners next Sunday at the Stade de France get another €3 million and the with the European Champions set to join Germany (or the runners up if the World Champions go on to complete the double) at the Confederations Cup in Russia next year, there would be a second windfall.

Teams participating in the last Confederations Cup earned between €1.5 million and €3.7 million and those figures are set to be increased for the tournament in 2017.

For the Welsh players, there is essentially €1.7 million up for grabs tomorrow with the Football Association having agreed a three-way split before the tournament between squad and staff, the funding of football development projects back home and the covering of the team’s participation costs.

The FAW invested heavily in its training base in northern France but they are likely to have very comfortably covered all of their costs even before Wednesday night’s game and should recoup a substantial surplus on the tournament.

Though clearly much bigger that its Icelandic counterpart, the FAW is small enough in financial terms with a turnover for the year ending June 2015 of around €12.6 million (and a surplus of €23,800) and so the sums earned here are very substantial.

"It certainly helps as far as achieving the objectives we set ourselves in our strategic plan," says FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford, "and what we are now really able to do is to achieve those objectives more quickly and better than we would have without the team having qualified."

He said that the team’s success and the benefits it will generate for the game back at home has been “an absolute dream come true”.

All of Europe’s associations will also benefit this year from the bonus “hat-trick programme” payments which Uefa makes in the years that the European Championship is staged.

Administrative cost

The programme has provided funding a basic €1.6 million per annum in recent years to help with administrative cost after which more can be earned by sighing up to various programmes, fulfilling specified criteria or winning support for infrastructural developments.

But because of huge portion of Uefa’s funding that comes from revenues generated by this tournament, the organisation makes higher pay-outs in the years when it is held and having received a basic €3 million in 2012, the FAI along with the other eligible associations will each receive €3.5 in 2016 after which the annual payments will be increased so that some €600 million is shared out over the course of the four-year cycle.

Overall, the FAI will have earned more than €14.5 between prize money and hat-trick funding this year compared to a figure of €11 million in 2012.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times