Premiership winners guaranteed place in next season's Champions League

The Scottish champions will enter the competition at the group stages.

Premiership winners guaranteed place in Champions League as UEFA confirm Russia suspension SNS Group

The winners of the Scottish Premiership will be in next season’s Champions League no matter the result in this week’s semi-finals.

It was feared that if Spanish side Villarreal defeated Liverpool on Tuesday night and went on to lift the trophy then they would take the place set aside for the winners of Scotland’s top league.

However, UEFA confirmed on Monday that no Russian sides will be allowed to enter any of their competitions in the 2022/23 season.

The main beneficiaries of the decision are likely to be Celtic who lead rivals Rangers with six points and a superior goal difference with only three games to go.

If they clinch the title in the weeks ahead Ange Postecoglou’s men will return to European football’s flagship competition for the first time in five years.

The league runners-up will also benefit from the decision as they will now go into the third round of qualifying rather than the second, with the guarantee Europa League group stage football if knocked out of the elite competition.

Russia’s teams will remain suspended from international and European competition into next season and the nation’s bid to host the European Championships in either 2028 or 2032 has been ruled ineligible by UEFA.

The European governing body announced a string of decisions in relation to Russia, which has been suspended since February following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

Monday’s announcement said Russia’s men’s team would not participate in the Nations League which begins in June, and will automatically face relegation from League B. The women’s team will also be barred from Euro 2022 in England and replaced by Portugal, the team they beat in the qualifying play-offs.

No Russian teams will be eligible to play in European competition next season, barring them from the Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League, Women’s Champions League and UEFA Youth League.

Russia will also be barred from playing any further matches in qualifying for either the Women’s World Cup in 2023 or the 2023 European Under-21 championships, with their results to this point declared null and void.

The bids submitted to host either Euro 2028 or 2032 have been dismissed, with UEFA’s executive committee citing article 16.02 of the regulations which states that “each bidder shall ensure that it does not act in a manner that could bring UEFA, the UEFA final or UEFA final phase, any other bidder (or any employee, officer or representative of any of the foregoing), the bidding procedure or European football into disrepute”.

In the Champions League semi-finals Liverpool lead Villarreal 2-0 ahead of Tuesday night’s second leg in Spain and Manchester City lead Real Madrid 4-3 from their first leg.

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