The group stage of the Champions League would mean a financial jackpot and new contract negotiations for the women of KuPS

Helmari debutantes meet in the top fight of the National

The women of Kuopio Palloseura will face St. Pölten from Austria in the last qualifying round.

Kuopio Palloseura’s women’s team is trying to pull off a tough trick in domestic football history, as it aims to enter the group stage of the Women’s Champions League.

KuPS’ opponent in the second qualifying round match pair is the Austrian champion SKN St. Pölten. The pair’s first match will be played in Kuopio on Wednesday, September 21, the second match will be a week later in Austria.

The winner of the match pair advances to the group stage.

– They have a very high-quality and attack-oriented team, which is also dangerous in special situations. They are quite sovereign in their own league, so they are always preparing to attack. The situation is very similar to ours, KuPS head coach Ollipekka Ojala compare.

The goal of the people of Kuopio is to play to their strengths, to get possession of the ball as much as possible.

– A good seam is to continue. They have been in trouble when higher ups have been pushed against them. It will be interesting to see how they react if we are able to control the ball – will they be able to press themselves in an organized manner, Ojala reflects.

Getting to the group stage would bring benefits

The Women’s Champions League and the UEFA Cup that preceded it have been played since the 2001-02 season. League systems have changed considerably over the years, and last season was the first to feature 16-team group stages. The change pleases Ojala.

– The value of the championship increases, because the Champions’ path to the European Games is easier. The new qualification system gives smaller countries a better chance to reach the group stage.

Getting to the group stage would be really significant financially, as 400,000 euros would go into the coffers, after which the amount would increase by 50,000 euros for each match win. Ties would bring an additional bonus of 17,000 euros. Other league clubs would also benefit from KuPS’ Euro success, which according to UEFA’s solidarity regulations will get their own slice of the prize money.

– That kind of money would make it possible to build a certain kind of dynasty. The danger is that the level differences in the National League will grow even more as the strong ones continue to get stronger. In the big picture, it can be said that it is good for us and for Finnish women’s futsal that we are successful, Ojala formulated.

Snow match against Barcelona or Juventus?

Advancing to the group stage would also mean big things in terms of games, as KuPS would secure at least six tough Euro matches in the first group.

– Then we would be playing at or above our maximum level. It would be interesting to see how Barcelona or Juventus would adapt to November-December in Kuopio, where at worst it would snow, the KuPS head coach laughs.

If KuPS’s games were to be continued at the Eurocourts, it would mean that the team’s season would continue considerably longer.

The domestic league season ends on October 22, while the Champions League group stage starts on October 19 and ends on December 22. So there would be an additional effort of at least two months, which would also mean the extension of the current player contracts.

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