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‘WHY WE MUST BACK PETER LAWWELL IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BID,’ DAVIE HAY

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CELTIC legend Davie Hay has backed Peter Lawwell in his battle to have the Champions League expanded to 48 teams.

The Hoops supremo, along with representatives from Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Anderlecht, flew to Switzerland last week to lobby UEFA chiefs for a change to Europe’s elite competition.

Club ambassador Hay, a former Parkhead manager and player, insisted: “Let’s not forget what Celtic have contributed to the tournament and, hopefully, will continue to do so both on and off the field through their incredible support, home and away.

“Some of world football’s most famous names wax lyrical about the magical atmosphere at Celtic Park on those European nights and it would be a huge blow for the supporters if those sort of occasions were consigned to the past.

“But it’s not just about Celtic. I think the heritage of the competition also has to be taken into account and these changes will also affect other famous clubs throughout the continent, as well.

“How could Ajax, a club who have won the trophy four times – three years in succession in the early seventies – potentially be frozen out in the future just because they come from a smaller country?

“OKay, we all know the big countries such as England, Spain, Germany and Italy can maybe dictate policy to an extent, but I don’t think they can be allowed to monopolise it.

“They already have four places each and they are going for more, but I think they have a fair deal as it is.

“It is only right and proper that you spread it across the smaller financial leagues.

“I’m not only saying that because Celtic are involved, I’m saying that from a fairness point of view.”

Hay added: “If you look at the World Cup, they are expanding the tournament and it’s seen as a positive thing to spread it to the smaller nations.

“I think the same sort of logic should apply to the Champions League.”

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