Glasgow City are through to the final 32 of the Champions League, leapfrogging the qualification round and cementing their place in the crucial first knock-out round — but they’ll have to wait until August to find out who they will face from the qualifiers.
This marks another landmark in the history of the club, making automatic qualification for the first time since it founded in 1998 by Laura Montgomery and Carol Anne Stewart.
Making the quarter finals in March this year, the club has risen through the rankings from one of the lowest ranked nation’s back in 2008 to the eighth club seed in this year’s tournament.
Laura summed up the significance of the news, saying: “The great news continues in that Scotland’s country co-efficient for the competition of 12th overall means that, if Glasgow City can maintain or improve that position this year, Scotland will for the first time ever have two teams enter and compete in Champions League season 2016-17.
She explained: “The UEFA Women’s Champions League is formatted with 56 teams entering the competition. 32 teams are placed into the qualification stage, made up of eight groups of four teams. Only the winners of the groups progress to the knock-out round of 32, where they meet 22 teams from the highest ranking countries.”
At the moment, the top eight countries are allowed to enter two teams but, in 2016-17, the top 12 club:country co-efficients will be eligible to have two teams enter. The co-efficient is made up of the individual club co-efficient based on their last five years in the competition and 33 per cent of the national association co-efficient.
Laura said: “We are delighted to finally be out of the qualification group stages. Back in 2008, when we first made it out of qualification by winning our group, we were the lowest ranked team but our repeated progress to the knock-out rounds has moved us in recent years to the highest ranking team in the qualification stage.
Thankfully, our progress has continued and our great performance last year in reaching the quarter final has not only moved us out of qualification, we are also ranked eighth amongst all teams entering this year.
“If we can hold this place, we will have two Scottish teams enter the Champions League next season. From a personal point of view, over the years, I have been disappointed with the lack of support from other clubs within the game to our Champions League endeavours and I hope that view may now change given our success that will, hopefully, lead to our country getting two teams in the competition in future.”
The qualification rounds will take place from August 11-16 and Glasgow City will find out who they will face in the last 32 at the draw in Nyon at UEFA headquarters on August 20.