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Rock Zouma enjoys a fine debut season

By ESPN Staff

UEFA chief Taylor predicts gloom for Scottish football

UEFA events chief executive and former Scottish Football Association supremo David Taylor has warned the game in Scotland will continue on a downward spiral if something is not done to arrest the slide.

Last month saw the country lose one of its Champions League places due to the poor performances of its clubs in Europe in recent seasons.

This term witnessed arguably a new low, with Rangers picking up just two points from their six Champions League Group G matches and Celtic also failing to reach the Europa League knockout stage.

Falkirk, Motherwell, Aberdeen and Hearts were all eliminated from the same competition prior to the group phase and Taylor was damning in his verdict of the displays of Scottish clubs, particularly those outside the Old Firm.

He told BBC Scotland:"The performances of these other clubs in European competition in recent years has been very, very poor indeed, particular compared to the clubs from other countries who have similar sorts of resources.''

Citing Austria and Switzerland as examples of such nations, he added:"We really have to look at our game and ask, 'Is it to do with the way our league is constructed, the number of fixtures, youth policies, the number of overseas players?' There are a whole range of factors that need to be explored.''

Rangers and Celtic both began the season in the Champions League, with Celtic's play-off defeat to Arsenal consigning them to the Europa League.

But from the start of the season after next, only the Scottish Premier League winners will enter Europe's premier club competition, and even they will have to qualify.

"I'm sorry to say but I think it is a big blow,'' Taylor said. "The opportunities for profile and for financial success come from participation in the Champions League and now it will be more difficult.''

Taylor, who left his role as SFA chief executive in 2007 to become UEFA general secretary, added: "The effects will be seen.

"These are large sums of money which used to be coming into Scotland and in future these sums will not be invested in Scottish clubs, so it has to be a big negative.

"One of the things we have been doing at UEFA is to try to make sure that there are different qualifying routes for the champions of countries that are not so successful and now Scotland comes into that category.

"So there will always be the qualification opportunity but unless we improve on the park then even that qualification route will get more and more difficult.

"It comes down to what happens on the pitch and Scotland I'm afraid, in the club sense, have been sliding down the rankings.''


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