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UEFA LATEST: CELTIC STILL ON TITLE TIGHTROPE

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CELTIC are still on a title tightrope after Europe’s football rulers relented on their previous hardline stance.

The Belgian soccer chiefs enraged UEFA when they announced last month they had scrapped the season and Club Brugge, 15 points ahead at the top of the league, had been awarded the title.

The European governing body warned counties’ associations that top-flight divisions that didn’t play to completion could see their teams banned from their top competitions, the Champions League and the Europa League.

However, amid the turmoil and uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, UEFA have softened their previous reaction.

Last week, an SPFL resolution gave the board the power to end the Premiership early, but any decision would have to be approved by Europe’s supremos.

Now the Nyon bosses have confirmed “special cases will be heard”, while still advising that leagues are played to a finish – IF POSSIBLE.

A statement said: “UEFA today met its 55 member associations via video conference and presented an update of the options being looked into by the two working groups that were created mid-March.

“A variety of calendar options were presented covering both national team and club competition matches.

“The funding of National Associations through UEFA’s HatTrick programme was also discussed with UEFA reiterating its commitment to meeting the payments to member associations as planned.

“There was a strong recommendation given to finish domestic top division and cup competitions, but some special cases will be heard once guidelines concerning participation to European competitions – in case of a cancelled league – have been developed.

“Any decisions on the above topics would be announced after the UEFA Executive Committee on Thursday.”

Celtic had a 13-point advantage with only eight games to play as they zeroed in on their ninth successive title. Neil Lennon’s men had also been due to meet Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden on Easter Sunday.

The SPFL, of course, have already terminated the Championship, League One and League Two after its resolution had been passed six days ago.

That saw Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers immediately being awarded the championships for their respective divisions with Partick Thistle and Stranraer relegated.

Basically, today’s announcement from UEFA shows they are still cagey about the Premiership closing before all 38 games are played, unless the SPFL are seen as one of the “special cases”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already gone on record as stating football won’t be returning anytime soon.

Now all eyes are on Thursday and the meeting of UEFA’s top brass for the latest update on an unprecedented situation.

 
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