Leicester City’s players will receive no more bonus money for winning the title than if they were to finish ninth from bottom, Sportsmail can reveal.
Terms drawn up last summer make clear the emphasis on survival, with a £6.5million pot shared among the squad for ending the campaign in 12th or above.
There were no provisions made for finishing any higher, let alone in the Champions League places or top of the pile although manager Claudio Ranieri has a deal to pocket an extra £100,000 per place above 17th.
Leicester’s squad now know that the bumper cash prize will surely be banked come the end of the season, so the glory of trying to become champions is the only immediate motivation.
Even if Leicester’s Thai owners wanted to offer added incentives now, it would be illegal. Under Premier League rules, clubs are not allowed to change their agreed bonus structures during a season.
In December, Ranieri spoke on this theme and revealed that the club’s owners, the Srivaddhanaprabha family, had thought ahead to the possibility of relegation.
‘I didn’t believe when I signed my contract that we would be top of the league,’ said Ranieri.
‘But two things were very, very fantastic for me: One, to hear from my owner that he wants to maintain Leicester in the Premier League in the next two years, then grow and try to achieve the top places.’
‘The other is when the owners asked me, ‘If everything goes wrong, you’ll stay with us in the Championship?’ I said, ‘Yes, I will stay here’.’