SCOTTISH title winners are being backed to gain automatic access to the Champions League instead of also-rans from elite divisions.

That’s the proposal of the president of a group representing 37 leagues from across Europe.

New plans from UEFA could see teams finishing as low as sixth in the likes of the English Premier League or Spain’s La Liga qualify for the continent’s top competition if they have a historically superior coefficient.

It’s part of the so-called ‘Swiss model’ proposed by the governing body to all 55 member federations that could also turn the group stage into a league table format. It would also increase the number of games in the opening phase from six to 10.
However, European Leagues president Lars-Christer Olsson, who is also a former UEFA chief executive, strongly opposes the project.

He believes it would be better for Celtic or any other title winners to compete at Europe’s highest level as opposed to a club from the Big Five of England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.

Olsson, speaking at the FT’s Business of Sport conference, said: “We think the three extra positions should be allocated in a way that more associations can be represented in the Champions League.

“It must not be given to one of the ‘big five’ associations.

“We are also of the opinion that the so-called country cap of the Champions League should stay at maximum five teams from the same association.

“We are actually preferring champions from Scotland, Denmark or Switzerland to qualify, for example, rather than team number six from England or Spain.”

Olsson, as reported in the Daily Record, added: “There is also no discussion about the financial distribution in the competition of the new proposal. In my opinion, it’s not possible to take a decision only on format now without a definition of principles for the new financial distribution system.

“We know already that the current system will continue to grow the financial gap of European club football.

“It will also prevent the free and proper competition of titles in European competitions, as well as in domestic competitions. This cannot continue. This has to be discussed.

“Give us the time needed for a proper process to involve all stakeholders and make the right decision to benefit of all not just a few.”

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