Revealed: Celtic may be one match away from stunning £30m+ windfall
Celtic may be just one match away from a stunning £30million-plus windfall under new plans being drafted by Uefa.
The governing body’s emergency working group set up to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic is considering one-legged qualification rounds played at neutral venues in the autumn.
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 Celtic’s Champions League dream hinging on a winner-takes-all match.
It is looking to shorten the qualification period for next season’s competition after already pushing back the 2020-21 Champions League group stage to 20 October.
Uefa plans to complete this season’s tournaments by the end of August, once those domestic competitions that are still intending to resume have finished.
This 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.
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Celtic had to progress through two qualifying rounds and the final eliminator play-off round, comprising of six matches in total, to reach the Champions League group stage in Brendan Rodgers’ first two seasons as manager.
One idea being mooted is for just one play-off round for the Champions League involving the national champions of 12 highest-ranked countries who do not have a club already in the group stage.
That scenario would almost certainly see Celtic as one of the 12 competing for one of the six available slots.
The other 24 clubs qualify automatically through their domestic leagues, plus the winners of the Champions League and Europa League taking it to 32 clubs in the competition proper.
Celtic are 13 points clear of rivals Rangers and are in line to be crowned Scottish champions for the ninth season in a row if the season ends prematurely.
They have failed to reach the Champions League group stage in the last two seasons and had to drop down to the Europa League before Christmas.
The last time Celtic played in the group stages of Europe’s elite competition – in Rodgers’ second season in charge – they earned £32m.
In other Celtic news, it can be REVEALED that the club are working on a deal to sign the ‘new Romelu Lukaku’.