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Celtic Have Joined Forces With Ajax
Celtic have joined forces with Ajax and FC Copenhagen to be the architects of a new Champions League format that favours club, rather than country coefficients and slashes the number of big teams who are automatically guaranteed a Group Stage slot.

Celtic have joined forces with Ajax and FC Copenhagen to be the architects of a new Champions League format that favours club, rather than country coefficients and slashes the number of big teams who are automatically guaranteed a Group Stage slot.

The Hoops missed out on the Group Stages for the second year in a row after they were surprisingly eliminated in the third qualifying round by Romanians Cluj.

But behind the scenes, the Scottish champions have been working with the Dutch and Danish clubs for over three years to propose a new look for Europe's premier competition, which has come in for heavy criticism in its current format.

Clubs from so-called smaller European nations like Scotland, Holland and Denmark are unhappy at being forced to play up to four rounds of qualifiers just to get into the financial gold mine of the Group Stages.

But they now want qualification to be through UEFA's club coefficients, rather than country coefficients - which often hamper their cause - from the past ten years, from 2024 onwards.

And they would reduce the number of automatic Group Stage participants from 26 to 20 teams and increase the number of qualifiers from six to 12.

FC Copenhagen's head of international cooperation, Daniel Rommedahl, explained: "We have been working for three years with Celtic and Ajax to deliver these proposals.

This way there is no free entry for a Real Madrid or a Juventus if they do not deliver in their own leagues.

"UEFA feel they are uncertain whether the tournament will be attractive enough if all the big clubs are not involved in the Group Stages and they wonder whether it will provide enough TV money.

"But in this way, the tournament is turned into a financial discussion.

"We beleve sporting integrity needs to be met more than it does at present...which is why there should be no more Champions League free tickets."

UEFA's own plans for a new format attracted widespread criticism after it was revealed that 24 of the 32 teams in the Groups would be guaranteed a spot, regardless of their positions in the national leagues.

There would also be four spots for promotion and relegation to and from the Europa League, effectively leaving just four places from clubs from other countries.

But Celtic - who had chief executive Peter Lawwell appointed as one of four men by the European Club Association to sit on UEFA's Professional Football Strategy Council last week - are leading the way to change the shape of the competition.



Posted by voc1967 on Tuesday 20 August 2019 - 12:14:34 | Comments (0)  |  printer friendly
 
 
 
 
 
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