UEFA this week confirmed the name for their upcoming new third club competition which is set to launch in 2021 and the newly-christened UEFA Conference League looks set to leave Scottish clubs like Aberdeen even further away from the top table of European football.
The divisive plans are designed to see more clubs play group stage games in European competition without expanding the number of teams participating and will see a total of 176 teams take part in the Conference League with only 56 in the revamped Europa League.
For clubs based in countries ranked below 15th in UEFA’s coefficients – like Scotland – that means there’s no access to the Europa League directly, based on the current positions.
Had the competition started this season, Aberdeen would’ve joined Rangers and Kilmarnock in the Conference League with the rest of the sides who entered in the first and second qualifying rounds.
With five teams in the competition coming from the top leagues, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Espanyol, Eintracht Frankfurt, Torino and Strasbourg would also have taken part but that would be it.
Obviously, by the time the competition gets underway, Scotland may well have jumped up to the magical 15th position in the coefficients to gain Europa League entry, but the new tournament feels as though it does nothing to help smaller nations and everything to benefit the elite clubs.
Rather than stripping back the Europa League, the bloated Champions League should have been heavily changed and saw the number of clubs involved massively reduced.
Instead, it’s the rest who will be left fighting for the scraps from the top table under the false pretence of widening the involvement of smaller clubs in continental competition.