CELTIC have given their backing to a new proposal that would require fewer matches to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, according to reports.
The “Copenhagen Access Model” – named after the Danish club who have submitted the plan – would still see the top four leagues of England, Spain, Germany and Italy retain their four places in Europe’s top club competition, but would likely strip some clubs of a guaranteed place in the group stage.
Under the proposed format, as reported by The Athletic, all 79 clubs that have qualified from the tournament would be ranked in an “entry list” based on European results over the previous 10 years, with the top 20 qualifying directly for the 32-team group stage.
The following 12 clubs would enter in the play-off round, the next dozen in the third qualifying round, the next 13 in the second and the remaining 22 would enter at the first round of qualifiers.
Celtic have reportedly shown their support to the revised model alongside Dutch champions Ajax, who reached the semi-finals last season.
Had the suggested shake-up to the format been implemented this season, Neil Lennon’s side would have entered the qualification process at the third round – the same point where they were knocked out by Cluj earlier in the campaign.
In such a scenario, five clubs who had to compete in the play-off round – Ajax, Dynamo Kiev, Olympiakos, Porto and PSV Eindhoven – would have been guaranteed a group-stage berth. Of the quintet, only Ajax and Olympiakos qualified for the Champions League proper.