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Leeds And Southampton Clash For Lucrative Premier League Return

Leeds And Southampton Clash For Lucrative Premier League Return

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Leeds and Southampton will slug it out for a lucrative place in the Premier League when they meet in football's single richest match at Wembley on Sunday.

Promotion to the English top-flight is worth an estimated £140 million ($178 million) for the Championship play-off final winner.

No other game can offer such wealth, given the vast increases in matchday, broadcast and commercial revenue available to clubs who reach the Premier League.

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Financial experts Deloitte say the team promoted this weekend could eventually bank £305 million if they avoid relegation next season.

While the cash prize is a huge bonus, it is the prestige of competing with Manchester City and Arsenal, rather than second-tier minnows like Plymouth and Oxford, that will fuel two sides desperate to regain their Premier League status after a year in exile.

Relegation from the top tier can be ruinous but Leeds and Southampton handled their demotion astutely enough to move within one win of a return to the promised land.

There were regrets for Leeds, who finished in third place in the Championship, three points clear of fourth-placed Southampton, after losing their grip on an automatic promotion place that went instead to Ipswich.

Leeds recovered to show their potential in a 4-0 demolition of Norwich in the play-off semi-final second leg.

Southampton, who beat Leeds twice during the regular season, also impressed with a place in the final on the line, defeating West Bromwich Albion 3-1 in their second leg.

Both clubs feel the Premier League is a more fitting arena for their sizeable fan-bases and history of sustained spells in the top tier.

But the past also holds painful memories for Leeds, who have failed in five previous attempts to win promotion via the play-offs.

The three-time English champions have not won at Wembley since the 1992 Charity Shield against Liverpool and will be making their first appearance there in 17 years.

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Source: BBC Sport

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