Ajax chief exec Edwin van der Sar is in Celtic’s corner when it comes to ensuring a level playing field in Europe, looking to maintain blockbuster UEFA Champions League nights at Celtic Park.
His side are competing tonight in the semi-final of the competition and the goalkeeping legend is using his clout to try and ensure clubs like Celtic and Ajax are not left behind by the super rich clubs.
He’s taken part in meetings with Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, who also serves as chief of the European Club Association, in an effort to deny attempts at introducing promotion and relegation from the continental tournament.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, the former Man United man said:
We need to create a system where the big clubs in the minor leagues can still confront the most important leagues. I think of clubs like like us, Celtic, Benfica, Anderlecht, Salzburg, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.
I have recently discussed this with Agnelli. There are some things I share his view on like playing more European games.
But the system at the moment is that the differences between the various national leagues, especially in terms of TV rights, deny competitiveness.
We get around £8 million in TV rights a year – that means we have little chance of competing. Our only weapon is football.
We have to produce home players, but the rich clubs can shop around the world. Something has to be done.
European football is clearly in something of a transition phase right now and could radically change over the next five years, so as many voices sticking up for Celtic is key to ensuring we are not cut off from the most illustrious club competition in world football.
We’ve been struggling to keep pace of late, suffering humiliations in the group stages over the last decade, and it’s only going to continue.
Hopefully Peter Lawwell and allies like Van der Sar can help stave off 16 clubs pulling away from the rest for good.