Pressure is mounting on UEFA to drop proposals for two “wild card” places in the Champions League for Europe’s elite clubs, and if the plans are scrapped, the Scottish Premiership champions could be the biggest beneficiaries.
UEFA was widely expected to ratify its plans at next week’s Executive Committee meeting.
However, there has been massive lobbying in the last fortnight since Sky sports news he highlighted the topic, from top officials from across Europe, including those from the Premier League, the Scottish Premiership and the influential European Leagues organisation.
UEFA has already committed to expanding the competition from 32 to 36 teams from 2024, but has also announced plans for the allocation of two Champions League “wild cards” thereafter.
They would be awarded to clubs with the highest UEFA “coefficient” that simply did not qualify through their domestic competition, for example if Manchester United finished fifth in the Premier League.
But those plans met an angry response from clubs across Europe who felt the plans were unfairly skewed towards the continent’s elite, rather than based on sporting merit.
The European Leagues have led calls for the extra places to be given to smaller nations whose champions do not automatically qualify for the Champions League group stage. The Scottish Premiership is one of those leagues.
And so if UEFA bows to the pressure and scraps its ‘wild card’ plans, that would make future Scottish Premiership winners much more likely to automatically qualify for the Champions League group stage.
As it stands, the winner of this season’s Scottish Premiership will automatically enter the Champions League after UEFA banned Russian clubs from competing in its competitions, while next season’s champions will also go straight into the Champions League. 2023/24 group stage due to Scotland’s ninth place in the UEFA coefficient rankings. .
However, with an expanded Champions League, if the idea of ’wild cards’ or coefficient places is scrapped, that would offer an extra boost to Scotland’s top-flight winner in particular, who would be much more likely to gain automatic entry. To the group. stages from 2024.
Sky sports news approached UEFA for comment but they declined, saying no final decisions had been made before meetings of the Club Competitions Committee and the Executive Committee in Vienna on May 10.