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SBD Global/August 30, 2012/International Football

Lille Had A Lot On The Line In Its Champions League Qualifying Home Return Against Copenhagen

Although its season has just begun, Ligue 1 club Lille was "already playing for a lot" in its UEFA Champions League qualifying return leg against Danish side Copenhagen, according to François Launay of After losing the away leg in Denmark 0-1, Lille's 2-0 victory Wednesday affected its season "on a number of levels." The most important being the economic impact of qualifying for the Champions League. Making the competition "is sort of like winning Euromillions" with a guaranteed check of between €20M ($25.1M) and €25M ($31.4M) regardless of the club's performance. That check "has already been integrated in the provisional budget fixed at €100M ($125.5M)" by the club. Something else to keep in mind is that Lille has a brand new €324M ($406.5M) stadium with a capacity of 50,000. It is "the most modern arena in France and one of the most beautiful in Europe." The Champions League is "indispensable" if the club wants to sell out its stadium as often as possible. Playing Ligue 1 clubs like Lorient, Nancy and Toulouse "will not fill the seats." Sports Economist Frédéric Bolotny said, "If Lille qualifies for the Champions League in its first season at the Grand Stade [arena], it will develop the image of the club and attract a large public as well as sponsors, which means additional revenues. Everything is linked." Prior to the match, Lille defender Franck Béria said, "We are playing for our lives" (, 8/28).
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