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Leading English reporter states case for Pot 2 Celtic as he slams UEFA stitch up

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Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail has stated the case for the Scottish champions to be in Pot 2 of the Champions League draw.

At yesterday’s draw in Istanbul for the ‘Champions League’ there were eight national champions scattered through the bottom two pots, hoping to avoid getting paired with two of the big hitters.

Pot 1, the top seeds, consists of six clubs that have won their national league which allowed Ajax and Porto to join last season’s UEFA trophy winners, Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt.

After that clubs are ranked based on their own co-efficient based on 10 seasons of results. Effectively clubs are insured against recent dips in performances by turning up for the competition over the last decade.

Pot 2 was crammed full of big names but taking a closer look at their current form Sammuel was less than flattering over what he described in the Daily Mail as a UEFA stitch up:

They had been good once, a few years back, so they got to stay that way. They enjoyed all the benefits of being a successful club, without having to be successful.

Between them, Barcelona (second), Chelsea and Atletico Madrid (third) and Sevilla, Tottenham, RB Leipzig and Juventus (fourth) were on average 17.14 points off their league champions.

Yet they sat just outside the top seeds in pot 1 as if deserving. And that is how UEFA maintains the status quo.

Atletico are the most recent champions (2021), then Liverpool and Juventus (2020), Barcelona (2019), Chelsea (2017), and then the fun starts: Tottenham (1961), Sevilla (1946) and RB Leipzig (never).

How can a competition that brands itself the Champions League reward this above the genuine achievements of Celtic, Maccabi Haifa, Dinamo Zagreb, Copenhagen, Viktoria Plzen, Club Bruges, RB Salzburg and Shakhtar Donetsk, who are all champions in pots 3 and 4?

The champions of Europe’s best league, the Champions League holders and Europa League winners are pot 1, and that is fair.

After this, UEFA should start listing qualified champions until exhausted, and then begin the process with second-best teams from the strongest leagues.

Liverpool and Barcelona would drop into pot 3, which is tough, but no club that has come fourth should be in anything other than pot 4. The same with third and pot 3.

Instead UEFA protect, indeed reward, failure. And yes, fourth place in the Premier League is earned by a stronger team than the champions of Israel.

Filling pot 2 with national champions would provide some reward and incentive to club’s like Celtic but the biggest issue remains four automatic qualifiers from the top four leagues which closes off half of the places in the group stage.

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  • the maister says:

    Yeah, spot on Martin Samuel. UEFA retain the title of “The Champions League” and “The Champions League Trophy ” and retain all copyrights, no doubt, in relation to selling the tournament. And many buy into that. But it isn’t exactly that! It has many and much vested interests and is a doctored version of the “Champions League”, because it unfairly biases duff clubs in England, Germany, France, Spain and Italy with a better chance of progression. When Celtic won it, it was that! The “Champions of Europe Cup”. So, when Celtic won it, we were the undisputed “Champions of Europe”. But you can’t say that today with this tournament. If you look at the European Championship, Euro 2020, it was patently as fair as it could be, that it was won by the best team in the competition, Italy! But the ECL is tainted because, although everybody agrees it is the best tournament, it is biased in favour of lesser/poorer performing clubs. So the winners aren’t necessarily the “Champions of Europe” because they may not even be the best team in or the champions of their own country. Touche Mr. Samuel for highlighting that!

    • MICHAEL MURRAY says:

      they should change the hole name of the champions league.as how many clubs that won nothing are being put in easyer Pots than what Celtic got they forget the BHOYS are unbeten at home since last year if the Shield amount of team that one nothing get a higher ranking than a team who’s won 10 out of 11 Seasons the really need to rephrase the word Champions League they want to use Stats

  • Tam says:

    I’ll bet the sfa/spfl will jump on this and agree having been silent for a decade. Why because the team that they all support “the rangers” are now in it

  • John S says:

    Domestic League winners are the Champions. The others are clearly included to pander to vested interests. It devalues the competition as a competition and rewards Big Names for seemingly no good reason at all.

    • John mcghee says:


  • Scud Missile says:

    Great points made there.

  • Michael Donohoe says:

    If it was rANGERs all the Scottish media would be up in arms. The corrupt sfa,an snp. A mention in the Scottish Parliament l wouldn’t be surprised if the auld yin in Buckingham Palace had a word.

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