Home > My offside trap > The Champions League’s prize money doing more harm than good to Romanian clubs

The Champions League’s prize money doing more harm than good to Romanian clubs


You’ve all heard what happened to Unirea Urziceni. The 17 million Euros received from the club’s surprising appearance & results in the Champions League’s group stage couldn’t prevent the club from being dissolved a year later. What happened with the money? The kind of money that could have offered Unirea the budget of a contender for a place in Europe for at least three more years without another cent being invested from another source, yet the club ceased to exist shortly after cashing in on UEFA’s prize money…

How come the Romanian law representatives had to sell the goods found at the stadium, like the scoreboard or the team’s massage table, once the club went into administration for failing to pay its debt towards the state money? Ok, I know how things work over here and that the state acts stupid when there’s a political interest at stake, but, really, isn’t this something UEFA should be worried about? Where does the money go? Because in Unirea’s case, it didn’t look like they’ve ever entered the club’s account – the first place the authorities block and withdraw the sums one owes to the state budget.

Otelul’s players – outplayed in Europe, unpaid in Romania.

Another, fresher, example: Otelul Galati. Made it into the group stage of the CL, after winning the title, and collected way over 10 million Euros for being sparring-partner for the likes of Benfica, Basel and Manchester United. The millions kept on coming, but throughout this season the club failed to pay the players on time (with the average yearly wage of maybe 60-70.000 Euros / player). They went on vacation with delayed payments for the last two months, although according to Marius Stan, the club’s long serving president, the club has the money to cover a lot more than that. “We have millions in our account, but the board of administration has blocked it. They await a few more millions, as UEFA will soon complete the transfer of the CL prize money. The board is looking for a way to take part of it and they want me out of their way”, cries Stan in today’s press, which speculates that he’s been already sacked in a meeting that took place this morning…

The good thing is that, in this case, UEFA sent the cash to the right account. The bad thing is that the money isn’t used in footballing purposes. Like paying the guys that got you in the Champions League, developing the club or at least – like in Unirea’s case – keeping it alive…

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