Football

Peter Lawwell Hopes Europa League Expansion Could Benefit Teams Like Aberdeen and Hibs

Peter Lawwell Hopes Europa League Expansion Could Benefit Teams Like Aberdeen and Hibs

Peter Lawwell believes Europa League expansion could benefit teams like Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs domestically.

The Celtic chief executive sat down with Celtic Underground for a podcast recently to talk through a number of topics, including the future for the Hoops and for Scottish football.

On the latter, he provided an interesting line on competitive balance in Scotland and any suggestions that limiting the spending power of the teams at the top helping make it a more level playing field.

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But Lawwell doesn’t agree with that – and instead believes the Europa League could be a transformer for Scottish football.

According to the Celtic chief, expanding the number of teams competing in Europe’s second competition between 2021 and 2024 could give more Scottish sides the benefit of more money by qualifying further in it.

And that’s what could allow teams like Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs to compete even more domestically.

Lawwell, per Celtic Underground, said: “We should be looking at supporting our bigger clubs, supporting our clubs in Europe and exporting Scottish football so whatever we do in Europe, or whatever any club participating do, it brings back coefficient points and significant revenue for the league.

“So that would be a huge mistake and I don’t think that would happen. I think people are smart enough to realise the consequences of dumbing down the big clubs and therefore it won’t.

“My view on competitive balance in Europe and in Scotland is about access and inclusion. So negative steps like squad caps, salary caps – these to me are negative and actually harm the development of football. It should be all about inclusion.

“For example, if we can expand the Europa League from 2021 to 2024 maybe from 48 to 64 teams and get the access right, that might mean teams like Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs have a better chance of entering the group stages, therefore gaining transforming finance and therefore improving their competitiveness back here in Scotland.

“So rather than having negative influences we should be looking at far more positive and looking at ways of inclusion and access for clubs from medium to small-sized nations. That, for me, would be the transformer for Scottish football.”

Despite the debate over competitive balance and Celtic’s winning of a double treble this season, the Scottish Premiership was a very competitive league – with Brendan Rodgers’ men only finishing nine points above Aberdeen in second.

There were also brilliant league performances from the Dons, Hibs and Kilmarnock, while Motherwell, Hearts and Rangers showed at different times that they can compete with the biggest sides.

Do you agree with Lawwell’s view on competitive balance in Scotland?

Let us know in the comments below..

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