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Reported rejection of plans to close off UEFA Champions League is a positive for Celtic

General view outside the stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League Group B match between Celtic and Rosenborg at Celtic Park on September 20, 2018 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Plans that would have made it even harder for Celtic to qualify for the group stages have been put on hold.

A general view outside the stadium ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group B match between Celtic and RB Salzburg at Celtic Park on December 13, 2018 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Plans which could have been potentially damaging to Celtic's hopes of qualifying for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League have been rejected by continental clubs, the Associated Press report.

The agency say that lower-ranking clubs in the European Club Association (ECA) have ensured that proposals drawn up by Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli will not progress past a planning stage.

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Agnelli and other super elite sides on the continent planned to guarantee 24 out of 32 teams slots to return to the Champions League each season, potentially leaving Celtic on the outside looking in and facing a much harder qualifying process.

Had he gotten his way, the competition would have been reformed from the 2024/25 season to be four groups of eight teams, meaning the biggest sides played each other more often.

 

Access to the competition would have been in part gated by promotion from and relegation to the UEFA Europa League.

The Associated Press report that while there was support for the idea from clubs in Spain, Italy, France and Germany, English clubs have rejected the proposals, allying with mid-tier sides in the ECA.

Where does this leave Celtic?

It looks like reform is on the way regardless of this latest rejection.

There are various other proposals to revamp the competition including a model that retains Agnelli's vision, but ensures that qualification is based on co-efficient rankings rather than being something of a closed shop.

Another model from Switzerland has been proposed that would see the Champions League become one single division ranked by coefficient, with eight to 14 games played prior to the traditional knockout rounds from the last 16 onwards.

A general view of the Billy McNeill statue outside the stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League Group B match between Celtic and Rosenborg at Celtic Park on September 20, 2018 in Glasgow,...

How it all shakes out for Celtic remains to be seen, but the latest news is a definite positive.

That mid-tier clubs have formed a bloc to sink such proposals is a sign that the Hoops will not be bullied out of the big stage through format change.

Obviously the team itself needs to prove they are a Champions League calibre outfit with results on the pitch.

Failure to reach the group stages in four of the last six seasons is a chronic problem that needs to be sorted out given the Hoops are often seeds and financially out muscle qualifying opposition.

However, right now, it doesn't look appear that the qualifying process is about to get much, much harder.

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