Rangers could be just one match away from a stunning £20million-plus Europa League windfall under new plans being drafted by Uefa.
The ruling body’s emergency working group set up to deal with the chaos caused by the coronavirus may introduce one-legged qualification rounds played at neutral venues for next season.
A Uefa source has told Football Insider that drastic measures are being proposed due to the short timeframe for next season’s competition and that could mean Rangers’ Europa League 2020-21 dream hinging on a winner-takes-all match.
The Glasgow giants are still to play the second leg of their Europa League last-16 clash against Bayer Leverkusen for this season, and that is set to be played in August.
Plans are afoot for the make-up of the 2020-21 Europa League as officials battle with shoehorning fixtures into a far tighter timeframe than normal.
Uefa has already pushed back the 2020-21 Champions League group stage to 20 October.
Now the Europa League could proceed along similar lines, with a shorter qualification period for next season’s competition.
That would pave the way for the qualifying matches to take place in September or early October, rather than in July and early August as at present.
Rangers started their European campaign on 9 July and had to progress through three qualifying rounds and the final eliminator play-off round, comprising of eight matches in total, to reach the Europa League group stage for the second time in consecutive seasons.
One idea being mooted is for just one play-off round for the Europa League that would see one-off winner-takes-all matches rather than the usual extensive qualification process.
However, Europe’s secondary club competition is far harder to organise than the Champions League as only 17 of the 48 clubs in the group stage qualify directly from domestic competitions.
Rangers are well placed to qualify for the Europa League qualification rounds as they are second in the suspended SPL table, 21 points clear of third-placed Motherwell.
European competition provides the gateway for a massive spike in revenues for Scottish clubs.
Steven Gerrard’s side are on course to crash through the £20million barrier from their exploits in Europe this season.
In December, Rangers posted their most recent set of financial results, which revealed £14m of their turnover of £53.2m for 2018-19 came from their Europa League run.