CELTIC’S participation in the Champions League could be safeguarded by Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli who has been re-appointed as the top man of the ECA – an organisation representing the interests of professional association football clubs in UEFA’s jurisdiction.
According to reports in RecordSport, the Italian wants to safeguard the participation of certain clubs in the competition who have a rich history of European football. The talk has been of wildcard options or seedings that don’t take into account the whole of Scottish football.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell also sits on the ECA and is fighting to keep the door open for not only Celtic but the whole of Scottish football.
The Juventus chief has also been an advocate of a third-tier European competition which could see more money come into Scottish football with more clubs in the league participating.
RecordSport’s source says: “There seems to be a misconception that Agnelli is trying to shut the door on Scottish participation in the new-look Champions League. That is simply not the case.
“In fact, on the contrary, he has been very supportive of the arguments which have been put forward from clubs representing Europe’s so called smaller nations and he understands and accepts the principle of safeguarding access to the elite event for historic European clubs such as Celtic, Rangers, Ajax and Anderlecht.”
“He doesn’t support a closed shop Champions League and he does not want to challenge the domestic league structure. Instead, he wants to find a way of allowing more clubs from more countries to compete in Europe and access that revenue.
“The creation of a new third-tier competition would mean the likes of Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs and other Scottish clubs could compete far more regularly in Europe and that would provide the Scottish game in general with a massive financial shot in the arm.”
UEFA are now undertaking an 18-month consultation period where they will investigate the best way to move forward as they restructure their flagship competition.