Yesterday, The Daily Record was bigging up the coming changes to the Champions League again.
They are described as being great for Scotland.
The role of Peter Lawwell is being hailed.
I don’t know who is briefing the paper on this stuff, but they are wrong.
For openers, involvement in this is nothing to be proud of. These proposals are dreadful, and further corrupt a competition which has more and more been bent towards favouring a handful of clubs who the game panders to instead of taking on.
Here, for once I’m going to give Lawwell the benefit of the doubt; his role in this particular car-crash was probably very minor indeed. Once again, this is an example of the media bumming up his alleged influence and authority and yet when you look at the fruits of his labours you see no evidence at all that he’s got any.
His so-called rule over the SFA produced absolutely nothing of benefit to Celtic; I think this is another example of that.
These reports allege that we were “working with Ajax” and other clubs. This is the giveaway. These clubs, and the Dutch side in particular, have used Celtic to support their own cause. We got nothing out of the deal as far as I can see.
There are two changes to the tournament which, in theory, could have affected us. But none of them actually does. Why are the Scottish press talking this stuff up as if there’s going to be a revolutionary effect on our clubs?
The “expansion” of the tournament amounts to an increase of just four teams. Now, that would eliminate the final round of qualifiers … or it should. Except that is not the way it’s going to work out at all.
Of those four clubs, one is going to come from France who look set to get an extra place. Another is going to go to the “highest ranked team by co-efficient” who failed to qualify for the tournament; in other words, you could get a fifth English club (or a sixth if the holders are English and didn’t qualify through their league system).
The other two places will go to the two highest seeds based on their European performance in recent years … this is widely seen as guaranteeing Ajax a group stage place every single year, which is why they want it.
It’s not clear how the “extra four teams” improves access to the competition for us or any other country in our aegis. Ajax is delighted; they’ve wangled their guaranteed place. They built their little coalition of non-elite leagues and played their hand beautifully … Lawwell was just another useful idiot in that little grouping as far as I can tell.
The new system – no groups but a 32 team “league” based on the “Swiss system” – is bonkers. Fans are confused by it, those who aren’t appalled. You wonder where the Hell they came up with this garbage. “It works well in chess,” was the pathetic defence offered up by one of the officials last week. I am astounded that this ever got off the ground.
I can’t understand why our media isn’t giving these changes proper scrutiny; instead they are pushing the fiction that this somehow helps Scottish football. That wouldn’t even be true if a Scottish club did get to these new, even more lucrative, group stages … imagine Celtic makes it to them two years in a row. The financial gap we’d open up would never be bridged.
These changes are remarkably dangerous and damaging to our game.
I cannot see how Scottish football benefits from them at all; indeed, fans from across Europe, and especially from those leagues with one or two super-clubs already, have wholeheartedly condemned them.
Numerous national leagues – including the EPL – are aghast and opposed.
They further divide European football into the haves and have nots.
Even if we graduate to that august first chamber, I’m not sure it’s to anyone’s benefit.
[snack-countdown title=”Celtic’s Countdown To Champions League Disaster” date=”06/20/2021″ time=”00:00:00″ colour=”#000″ textColour=”#FFF”]