Celtic and the UEFA Champions League; co-efficient and cash latest

By John McGinley

March 7, 2023

With the second leg of UEFA Champions League Round of 16 ties taking place this week and next, it’s worth reviewing where Celtic sit in terms of qualification for next year’s tournament.

Ange Postecoglou’s Bhoys are on course to gain an automatic place in the group stages of the 2023/24 edition. The Scottish Premiership winners earn that honour this season as champions of one of Europe’s top ten leagues when it comes to co-efficient. Currently nine points ahead, Celtic are well on their way.

The second-placed side in the Scottish top-flight, currently Rangers, enter the qualifying gauntlet this summer at the third round stage of the non-champions path which will be a difficult task – although the Ibrox club did manage it at the beginning of this season.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Going into this year’s football, Scotland sat ninth in the co-efficient table with Austria directly ahead and the disqualified Russia and Serbia in pursuit behind.

Scotland is in good shape to maintain that top-ten status going into next season, despite difficult group stages for both Glasgow clubs in the Champions League and Hearts’ failure to qualify for the knockout stages of the Conference League. Austria have slipped behind, with Serbia also confirmed to be behind. Turkey, Switzerland and Ukraine – also behind – all have teams still earning co-efficient points this season. But it remains likely that next year’s Premiership winners will also have automatic group qualification in the revamped 2024/25 format.

On a club level, Celtic currently sit 56th in the co-efficient table based on the last five years of results, although could slip further down the rankings with clubs such as Istanbul Basaksehir still in Europe currently. Moving up these rankings will be a crucial goal for Celtic over the next few years. Given Rangers currently sit as high as joint-30th, it’s clear progress can be made. Not only do individual club co-efficients impact seedings but also prize money bonuses from a placing on the ten-year co-efficient list.

Changes on the way but next year’s cash earnings would be similar for Celtic

From 2024/25, there are significant changes to the Champions League with 36 clubs getting the chance to play a ‘league stage’, which is essentially one giant table with different cut-off points for progression through to the knockouts. If Celtic make it, they’ll play eight games in that part of the tournament compared to the current six. More cash will be available than ever before with more matches played and greater sums of TV money. In the UK market, UEFA struck a deal with BT Sport (rebranding to TNT Sports), Amazon and the BBC for their rights packages from 2024 to 2027 at higher rates than the current deal.

The 2023/24 earnings for Celtic, should we make it, will be similar to this season’s edition – around £30m in total before taking into account ticket sales, hospitality and other commercial opportunities. Getting back into the groups for a second successive season would be big for Celtic from a financial perspective as much as a sporting one. We’ve already seen recent interim financial results from the club that demonstrate taking part this season has them on course for a record revenue total. Backing that up is potentially transformative for on and off-field projects across the club.

In other news, Celtic B thump Rangers in cup clash as Joey Dawson continues red-hot form.