Why PSV-Ajax may or may not be ‘the match of 40 million euros’

Why PSV-Ajax may or may not be ‘the match of 40 million euros’
Players of PSV and Ajax at fist earlier this season

NOS Football

PSV-Ajax, the match of forty million.

It’s a popular term that comes up these days when talking about Sunday’s premier league topper. But that term is rather premature, in more ways than one.

The statement refers to the difference in revenue between reaching the Champions League, in which a total of some 2 billion euros is distributed, and the Europa League, which lags considerably behind with some 465 million euros.

But of course, that the winner of PSV-Ajax will actually be second, with a three-point lead with four games to go, is impossible to say. In doing so, the number two of the premier league secures participation in the third preliminary round of the Champions League.

That one has to be won, as do the playoffs after that, to actually make it to the group stage. In the last two seasons, PSV quickly went wrong and successively Benfica and Rangers FC were too strong in the playoffs.

So where will that 40 million euros come from?

To answer that question, we dig through UEFA documents containing the money distribution of European tournaments. Starting with the Champions League.

Placement for the group stage means a fat 15 million euros anyway. In addition, a win in the group brings 2.8 million euros and a draw 930,000 euros.

PSV drops out after costly elimination in Champions League preliminary round against Rangers

In addition, UEFA works with a so-called coefficient premium: a distribution based on performance of a UEFA ranking based on the last ten years. Ajax, as number sixteen on that list, receives an amount of around 21 million euros.

Then you also have the market pool, by which TV money is distributed. Here, however, the Dutch clubs are in the lowest regions due to the low contracts in the Netherlands. On top of everything else comes the income around the matches.

Watch the coaches’ previews of PSV-Ajax in the videos below (swipe for more):

Ajax’s half-year figures show that the Amsterdammers were able to credit €43 million in UEFA premiums this season, apart from variable recettes (€6.9 million), which we’ll leave out for now for the sake of convenience.

Not bad for a group stage in which Ajax, apart from wins over Rangers, went down hard in Europe, with defeats against Napoli and Liverpool.

Neapolitan Khvicha Kvaratskhelia outsmarts many Ajacans

In case Ajax had lost all the duels, it would have had twice 2.8 million euros less. Then the (minimum) European turnover would still have been (43-5.6) a fat 37.4 million euros.

So what about in the Europa League?

Qualifying for the group stage of the Europa League earns over 3.6 million euros. For a win in the group, a club gets 630,000 euros and for a draw 210,000 euros.

Also in the Europa League, clubs receive a coefficient premium, which again is therefore different for each club. If we focus it on PSV, it was about 3.4 million euros last season. Much less than Ajax’s 21 million. PSV (37th) is also 21 places lower.

PSV captain Luuk de Jong thanks the crowd after this season’s 2-0 win over Arsenal in the Europa League

Added to that are the revenues from the market pool (with some 2.5 million euros reasonably comparable to Ajax) and the recettes. PSV, unlike Ajax so, has not specifically disclosed those over the past six months.

So the arithmetic, assuming the worst possible scenario with only defeats and no match receipts, becomes as follows: the starting fee (3.6 million euros) plus the sure premiums (3.4+2.5) is a total of 9.5 million euros in minimum European income.

Is it indeed the match of 40 million?

Conclusion: rough arithmetic shows that the difference in certain income between Champions League (Ajax) and Europa League (PSV) last season (37.4-9.5) was about 27.9 million euros.

Incidentally, there are still plenty of snags. The moment PSV qualifies for the Champions League, the coefficient premium will be lower than Ajax’s the year before, simply because Ajax’s ranking is higher.

Ajax beats Juventus in 2019 and qualifies for Champions League semifinals

And Ajax was the only Dutch club in the Champions League last season, so it did not have to share the TV money.

Should the number 2 of this season’s premier league qualify for the group stage, the money will be shared with the national champion (most likely Feyenoord), who automatically qualifies.

So in case PSV qualifies for the group stage of the Champions League, and Ajax does so in the Europa League, the difference between the revenues will be less than last season.


Long story short: the 40 million match is obviously not it. Although the term comes from somewhere: should Ajax reach the group stage of the Champions League again, it will earn about that amount. But PSV already much less.

It’s all pie in the sky. Either way: both PSV and Ajax will be keen to win on Sunday. Also from a financial perspective.

Kayleigh Williams