What Does Winning the World Cup Get You?

World Cup 2006 Winners ItalyEver wonder what exactly a country wins by finishing a World Cup on top of the heap? Obviously the winning country basks in the glory of being recognized as the single greatest soccer playing nation on the planet, but what actual prize (besides the trophy) is won?

FIFA has officially announced the winner’s of next years World Cup finals in South Africa will take home a cool $30 million, with the runners up also heading home with a nice pay check of $21 million. With soccer and the World Cup already reining as the most popular sport and sporting event in the world respectively, the money involved in the tournament continues to grow. In addition, all participating teams will receive about a million dollars to cover their preparation costs, bringing the grand total of prize money in the competition to over $421 million (a 61% increase over World Cup 2006 Germany).

Beyond the prize money, FIFA has set aside about $40 million in order to pay clubs for the absence of their top players. “Every club who has a player at the World Cup will receive $1600 (£964) per day, per player,” said FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke. “The money will be paid 15 days before the start of the tournament and to one day after the players’ participation in the World Cup ends.”

The big money opportunities don’t stop at the National Teams, upstart talent from small countries also stand to possibly cash in big. A few good performances on the world’s biggest stage with every who’s who of soccer watching can mean a juicy payday for players. A prime example is Russia’s Andrei Arshavin who put on a masterful display at Euro 2008 and was then swooped up by mega club Arsenal in a big money deal.

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