On the recently played Final8 tournament, we even twice received a mail from LEN, highlighting the prize money of the LEN Champions League, an elite water polo contest, in the amount of € 381,000.
They summon all the winners of these massive amounts:
- Ferencvaros € 52.000
- Olympiacos € 42.000
- Pro Recco € 35.000
- Barceloneta € 33.000
- Jug Dubrovnik € 30.000
- AN Brescia € 29.000
- BPM Busto € 27.000
- Waspo Hannover € 25.000
- Szolnok € 21.500
- Dynamo Moscow € 20.500
- Jadran Split € 19.500
- ZF Eger € 18.000
- Mladost Zagreb € 10.000
- Steaua Bucharest € 8.000
- Spandau 04 € 6.000
- Crvena Zvezda € 4.500
Total: € 381.000
Knowing that the clubs that had a direct placement in the Preliminary stage, the Wild Card holders, paid that benefit € 30,000 each. Also, 19 other clubs participated in the Qualifiers and each paid € 5,000 for participation. With a simple math: 12 * 30,000 + 19 * 5,000 = 455,000, we got the total amount that clubs paid LEN to play the Champions League. With an even simpler subtraction operation, it is obvious that LEN returned € 74,000 less.
We know that clubs themselves are paying all the costs of either home or away games. The organizer of the final8, this time, Hannover had to pay extra for this privilege. LEN has no expense in organizing this competition, so the real question is:
What happened to that difference of € 74,000?
There are also some questions to ask:
What happened to a sponsor’s earnings? What happened to TV rights earnings?
We know that some of the TV broadcasters transmitted the League and the Final8 itself. We know that the clubs are obliged to cover the pool arenas with banners on which sponsors messages are flaunting. The only thing we do not know is what happens with that money. We asked LEN, more precisely Mr. Birri, to clarify our doubts, but he decided to ignore our mail?
Water polo is a unique sport in which sporting success does not bring financial benefit, in fact just the opposite. Even in elite competitions the Champions League would like to be. And instead of having clubs that are fighting to be part of that elite because they will benefit in sport, financially, and any other way, we have cases that clubs do not want to qualify, but plan to drop into Eurocup because they are not able to fund as many as 14 matches in the preliminary stage of the Champions League.
Author: Andrija Martic