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UEFA confirm four rounds of Champions League qualifiers

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UEFA have published details of next season’s Champions League qualification programme which confirms that Celtic will face four qualifying rounds to reach the group phase- assuming that they pip Graeme Murty to this seasons title.

The extra qualifying round means that the successful teams will be involved in midweek qualifiers between July 10 and August 29.

The main change by UEFA is that the four top nations- currently Spain, England, Germany and Italy- get four guaranteed group places which has a knock on effect on the mid ranking countries with the prospect of automatic entry for the Scottish champions virtually over.

Two teams from nations five and six (France and Russia) gain direct qualification with the next four nations getting one automatic place (currently Portugal, Ukraine, Belgium and Turkey).

Rather than having five places for the ‘Champions Route’ there will now just be four with Celtic highly likely but not certain to be seeded in each qualifying round.

With two more matches and a higher quality of opponent the importance of the Champions League will dwarf the SPFL in the opening month of the domestic season.

Celtic’s opening qualifier will be five weeks after Scotland’s pointless match in Mexico which should ensure that none of Brendan Rodgers’ squad will be on the jolly arranged by Rod Petrie.

CLICK HERE for the UEFA announcement.

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