Jim White has registered his disgust at UEFA expansion plans for the Champions League, that would potentially see an English team that finishes outside the top-four fast-tracked into the group stage, while the Scottish champions still have to qualify.
Talking on the White & Jordan Show (talkSPORT, Friday, 10.45am), the host was debating the issue with Producer Luke, an Arsenal supporter.
Luke, unsurprisingly, was arguing for the Premier League to get extra spots to safeguard the elite status of the competition.
“Arguments continue over UEFA’s Champions League expansion plan for 2024,” White said.
“Basically, it includes a qualifying safety net for teams that would potentially see teams in England who have a history in the competition still qualify even if they finish outside the top four.
“Now the question here I would suggest if more Champions League qualifying places become available, isn’t it time the Scottish champions are awarded an automatic spot in the group stage?”
Martin Keown said what he thought of the idea: “To me, I think it’s rubbish.
“A safety net so that if you did well in the Champions League a number of years ago because you had Messi in your team and now you’re halfway down your domestic league, I think that’s poor. I think if we were starting the Champions League today all champions would be in it. I think it’s killing the other nations.”
Producer Luke argued that people would rather watch Arsenal play Real Madrid than a smaller side. Jim White wasn’t having any of it.
“You’re kidding me. So you’re saying that if Arsenal finish seventh they’re more deserving [than the champions of Scotland]?
“You’re saying you don’t want to see Rangers against Real Madrid. You’d elbow them out and put Arsenal in instead?”
Elite network trying to shut up shop
This is a massive deal and White has it absolutely right.
The money involved in getting through to the group stage of the Champions League is huge.
This smacks of an elite network keeping all the cash for themselves at the expense of smaller countries.
UEFA should be looking after all of its members and trying to ensure that teams in all countries can battle on a level playing field.
That’s far from what’s happening at the moment.
When Rangers play in the Champions League, we’ll have to disrupt our pre-season to play the qualifying games.
If we don’t get through we’ll end up back in the Europa League, with a massive amount of games to play and nowhere near the reward.
Premier League sides moan about how many games they have to play but have much bigger resources and much deeper squads.
Anyone arguing in support of this UEFA plan is not a real fan of football. Champions League: The clue is in the name.
In other Rangers news, Alex McLeish lauds Bears rotation & return of Arfield v Antwerp