Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has warned that the Parkhead club need “to stay relevant” ahead of major proposals that could see Europe’s elite clubs look to break away from the current UEFA Champions League format.

Lawwell, who sits on UEFA’s professional football strategy committee as well as being vice-chairman of the European Club Association, has cautioned that while Scotland are guaranteed an entrant into the elite tournament until 2024, from then on there are fears that the top clubs will engineer their own breakaway.

And while Lawwell’s presence and influence in European circles will fight Scottish football’s corner, the Celtic chief executive has maintained that on the park the club need to continue to make their presence felt in European competition.

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Celtic face a marathon four qualifying rounds this summer to make it back into the group stages of the competition, a tournament that is critical in terms of being able to significantly add to the club’s revenue stream.

“It looks like the Champions League format and access will stay the same for the next six years,” Lawwell told a Celtic Underground podcast. “It is this this cycle and the next cycle.

“The Europa League will stay the same for this cycle, 2018-21, but there is an opportunity, from 2021-24 to change and we are discussing that as part the working group in UEFA at the moment. We are discussing what would be the best format and access and financing of the Europa League for 21-24 and that, I think, should be built around expectations for 2024 onwards. From then on we will see quite significant change in European football.

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“The dynamics at the moment are the elite clubs and the suggestion of this Club World Cup. The elite clubs having pressure to maximise their value by looking to break away whether it is a breakaway or an elite league and the conflicting dynamic being Aleksander Ceferin who is the president of UEFA saying that we need to look at competitive balance. Over the next six years these will be the conflicted dynamics and these will be the discussions and debate of what 2024 looks like.

“For us at Celtic we need to stay relevant. There are huge challenges. The gap is getting bigger between the elite clubs, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester Unite, Bayern Munich and the rest. Our challenge over the next six years is to remain relevant. We are regarded, no mattered where we go, as a top class European club. We have a lot of supporters at high level and people respect Celtic. From what we have done in the past and what we hope to do in the future, we will remain relevant and remain part of it and our job is to try and influence post 2024 onwards and be as big a part of it.

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“Whatever we do in Europe or any Scottish team participating in Europe, they can bring back co-efficient points, they bring back revenue to the Scottish game.” Meanwhile, Lawwell has voiced his frustration at the lack of communication from the SFA. Celtic have Jack Hendry, Scott Bain, Lewis Morgan and Ryan Christie away with Scotland for the games against Peru and Mexico, but the club learned of the proposals only through a newspaper article.

“Tat was real frustration for us and we made our thoughts known to the SFA,” he said.

“There’s no doubt to build relationships with clubs going forward, communication and engagement is absolutely essential.

“So hopefully now with Ian (Maxwell) in there, he understands that and that will be a big improvement going forward.”