Celtic commit to current UEFA competitions amid European Super League fears

Scottish champions align themselves to the status quo after landmark ruling

Celtic have distanced themselves from any potential European Super League after a court ruling sparked fears from Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack that Scottish football would be changed forever.

Cormack accused Scottish football of being ill-prepared for the European Court of Justice judgement, which he believes will pave the way for a European Super League and double the financial advantage of Celtic and Rangers over the rest of the game. The court’s grand chamber has ruled that UEFA and FIFA acted against EU competition law when blocking the formation of a European Super League in 2021 and then seeking to sanction the clubs involved. The A22 group at the centre of the Super League proposal has now unveiled its new vision for both men’s and women’s football. However, Celtic joined the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in pledging their commitment to traditional structures of European competition.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Celtic, whose chairman Peter Lawwell is vice-chair of the European Club Association, said in a statement: “The resolution regarding the framework for prior authorisation of other competitions refers to outdated UEFA statutes that were already amended in June 2022. We must be clear that this does not in any way endorse or approve the so-called ‘Super League’ project. Celtic plays an important, leading role within the European Club Association framework and as a club, we are fully committed to working through the ECA, alongside our fellow European clubs to uphold the values that define European football. We can only achieve our objectives through the strong partnership ECA enjoys with UEFA. The wider European football community is not supportive of the ESL, and Celtic, like many other clubs, will continue to promote the interests and protection of football’s broader family through the ECA and UEFA.”

Celtic competed in the Champions League this season.Celtic competed in the Champions League this season.
Celtic competed in the Champions League this season.

Cormack earlier wrote on his X social media account: “This ruling will most likely change European football forever.”

A22’s proposal for the men’s game would see a three-tier league set-up featuring 64 teams playing at least 14 games each and, while there would be relegation and promotion into the competition, Cormack believes further change will come. “This will be the Trojan horse towards a European Super League and ultimately cross-border leagues, because when the biggest clubs leave their national leagues the commercial value for the remaining teams will plunge,” Cormack added.

“Your board at Aberdeen FC has been expecting this decision for some time. Throughout our history, including this season’s group stages, the appetite for European football if anything has grown significantly. We are working with like-minded clubs across Europe to make sure we do our utmost to deliver European club competition with similarly competitive clubs, the absence of which will lead to double the current gap in finances versus Celtic and Rangers, who will be included in those 60 ranked teams. As usual, in Scotland, we have slept-walked our way into this without any discussion.”

Aberdeen featured in European group stage football this season for the first time in 16 years, qualifying for the Europa Conference League by way of their third-placed finish in the cinch Premiership and defeat in the Europa League play-offs. Celtic qualified automatically for the Champions League and Rangers were in the play-offs but Scotland is in danger of losing its automatic place in future years amid the ranking system. A new Champions League format is set to come into place next season which would see clubs play eight games in the group stage instead of six.