Football finance expert Kieran Maguire has slammed UEFA’s system when it comes to which clubs will play in which European competition following the respective qualifying rounds.
The Lowdown: Gers could miss out
After winning the Premiership title, Glasgow Rangers are a couple of two-legged ties away from the Champions League group stages – they will start in the third qualifying round and, should they prevail, they will face another play-off round.
However, if they lose that third qualifying round match, they will face a play-off round to qualify for the Europa League – Celtic, who finished 25 points behind them in the league (BBC), would be guaranteed a spot in the Europa League group stages even if they were to bow out at the same stage.
The Latest: Maguire slams system
Speaking to Football Insider, Maguire has questioned the system. He said:
“It’s absolute nonsense, therefore it must be something to do with Uefa.
“European participation is really essential for both clubs, ideally in the Champions League.
“If we take a lot of Rangers’ revenue in 2017-18, they didn’t get very far in European competition that year and their revenue was £32.7m.
“Whereas two years later it was £59m. If you’re in the Champions League group stages we’re probably talking somewhere closer to £80m.
“It’s a game-changer for both clubs, getting into the group stages. The value of the Scottish rights are quite modest, especially compared to the Uefa broadcast deal.
“Remember, both Rangers and Celtic benefit from the rights pool. The way that it works is that the more your domestic broadcaster pays for Uefa rights, the more you get as an individual team.”
The Verdict: In their own hands
There is no doubt about it – this is a bizarre rule which once again leads to questions about UEFA’s ability to organise tournaments. Despite finishing so far ahead of second-placed Celtic in the league, the Gers somehow find themselves at a disadvantage of sorts.
Will Rangers be in the Champions League group stages next term?
As Maguire explains, the Gers’ adventures in Europe during the 2019/20 campaign, when they reached the Europa League round of 16, increased the coffers by the sum of £26.3m. Qualification for the Champions League group stage could bring in another £21m – a huge amount of money for the 55-time Scottish champions, and a potential £47.3 more than they bankrolled just three years ago.
The rule may be nonsense, but the Gers should not worry about it. Their destiny is in their own hands, and if they can get through those two clashes and reach the Champions League group stage, they will receive a huge financial boost.
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