Celtic’s progress to the Champions League group stages earned each of their Scottish Premiership rivals a windfall of over £100,000. Furthermore, Scottish football is likely to experience an improvement in competition for places after UEFA announced changes to the qualification process set to take place in 2018.
The Scottish champions are already guaranteed £2.6m for progressing beyond the UEFA Champions League play-offs and will bank £10.3m for group stage participation, even if they do not win a single point.
Drawn in a group alongside European heavyweights Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach The Hoops have the potential to be awarded £1.3m for a group stage win and £430,000 for a draw. They could also benefit from broadcast payments of up to £10m and £6.5m in gate receipts from the three group games at Parkhead.
If Celtic can defy the odds and reach the round of 16 they will net another £4.75m. The types of figures on offer in Europe’s elite club competition belittle the funds on offer from the UEFA Europa League where clubs receive around £2m for reaching the group stages.
Celtic saw off Israel’s Hapoel Beer Sheeva 4-5 on aggregate after a tense second leg at in Glasgow and have done the Scottish Premier League a huge favor since heir 11 top-flight rivals are in line to share a UEFA solidarity payment pot of more than £2m, paid by the governing body to compensate for the rescheduling of domestic matches.
The shared payments will not be paid until next summer but it dwarves the solidarity payments of around £40,000 handed to Premiership clubs over the last two seasons in European competition when Scottish sides have underperformed.
Parkhead is now likely to be awash with cash over the coming season but boss of bitter rivals Rangers Mark Warburton is not fretting one bit, in fact he can see the positives. “It’s a positive. It’s a Scottish club progressing to the Champions League group stages,” he told Glasgow’s Evening Times.
“It absolutely has to be a positive. It would be stupid to say anything other than that. But I can’t control it so I’m never going to worry about Aberdeen, Hearts, Celtic or anyone else.
“Nothing we can do here can control what happens away from us, so all we can focus on is what we can control. We’ll concentrate on our training, our work here, the analysis and all the other things we do.
Motherwell general manager Alan Burrows acknowledged the importance of Celtic’s qualification and said the subsequent cash payments could have huge significance to the ailing division.
He told the Daily Record: “I’m a great believer in all Scottish clubs supporting each other in Europe and this season that included Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen as well as Celtic.
“We want to see our clubs represented at the group stages of the Champions League and the Europa League because it’s good for the reputation and credibility of the SPFL.
“It also triggers those solidarity payments, which clubs can then invest in youth development, a new player or even the employment of extra staff behind the scenes.
“It’s no exaggeration to say this payment, which we can now factor into next season’s financial projections, could be the difference between some clubs keeping their heads above water or struggling. It could safeguard the jobs of employees at several clubs.”
Another massive piece of encouragement was handed to Scottish clubs when UEFA announced that they had concluded to perform an overhaul on the qualification process to the Champions League.
In August 2016 European football rulers confirmed the top four leagues will now have four teams each in the competition as of 2018. England, Spain, Germany and Italy will now make up 50 per cent of the 32 sides in the group stage. Importantly for Scottish football UEFA have kept the Champions’ Route that gives the Scottish Premiership winners a better chance of making the millionaires’ playground.
This method of qualification sees the Scottish champions placed in the second qualifying phase of the competition and is the only route that teams north of the border from the cash rich English Premier league can qualify, other than winning the UEFA Champions League or Europa League.