Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Loser at Wembley Will Miss out on a [Pounds Sterling]117.7m Jackpot ... No Pressure Then!

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Loser at Wembley Will Miss out on a [Pounds Sterling]117.7m Jackpot ... No Pressure Then!

Article excerpt

Byline: Giuseppe Muro Football Correspondent

THE Championship Play-Off Final is worth [pounds sterling]120million to the winners, which means Crystal Palace and Watford are contesting the richest football match in history.

Promotion to the Premier League is more pronounced than ever this season. The enormous financial gap between the top-flight and the rest of English football widens in 2013-14 when the new, three-year TV rights package kicks in.

The new deal will see next season's bottom club in the Premier League bank at least the [pounds sterling]60.8m that Manchester United earned for winning the title this season.

It means the value of the world's most lucrative game has increased by [pounds sterling]30m since West Ham beat Blackpool last year and has gone up [pounds sterling]80m in the previous 10 years.

To underline the importance of the game on Monday, the losers will receive just [pounds sterling]2.3m from the Football League TV deal if they are in the Championship next year.

Even if Palace or Watford -- one side will replace Queens Park Rangers as London's sixth team in the Premier League -- are relegated after one season, they will receive parachute payments of around [pounds sterling]60m over four years.

But both clubs are expected to invest in the transfer market this summer should they go up and would fancy their chances of staying in the top flight next season. Eleven of the previous 15 teams promoted have survived their first season in the Premier League and the last two teams to get promoted via the play-offs -- Swansea and West Ham -- have both avoided an immediate return to the Championship.

Holloway, who will have learned from his relegation campaign with Blackpool in 2010-11, has been told he will get up to [pounds sterling]40m to spend if Palace return to the Premier League.

He will have to replace star men Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray. Zaha completes a [pounds sterling]15m move to Manchester United this summer and top scorer Murray is expected to miss the majority of next season with a serous knee injury.

Holloway would love to keep Zaha (left) on loan for another season if Palace go up but admits incoming United boss David Moyes will want him at Old Trafford.

"Winning would mean total joy but then total panic about what we need to do to catch all the other teams," said Holloway, who was the Blackpool manager when they lost 2-1 against West Ham at Wembley last year.

"Because you have got to get some serious players in. But whatever happens, I want this club to keep moving forward because I believe we have got the right format for the future."

Palace narrowly avoided relegation to League One after going into administration three years ago and the club's new owners deserve huge credit for their revival. …

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