Premier League rejects Old Firm proposal

by Neil Sherwin

Football - Rangers v Celtic Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League

The Premier League has today knocked back a plan to bring Celtic and Rangers to English domestic football.

Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside had submitted a proposal for a two-tier league of between 36 and 40 teams and both Old Firm clubs were hoping to be part it.

“Bolton Wanderers submitted a discussion paper detailing ideas concerning the restructuring of the Premier League into two tiers with the inclusion of Celtic and Rangers,” said a statement from the Premier League.

“The clubs welcomed the additional input into an ongoing process, however, they were of the opinion that bringing Celtic and Rangers into any form of Premier League set-up was not desirable or viable.

“The other relevant ideas contained within Bolton’s paper will now be taken forward as part of the wider strategic review being undertaken by the Premier League since November 2008 with the aim of providing recommendations before December 2010.”

Gartside’s idea was first muted six months ago as part of his belief that the big clubs have too big a monopoloy on the Premier League’s cash flow.

His annual report, published last week, is along the same lines.

“Addressing this polarisation of clubs and the increasing revenue differentials will, I believe, be the major strategic issue for the Premier League over coming years,” he said.

“The Premier League is an exciting product for supporters and for television viewers, but there is no doubt that as the years go by, and the same few clubs continue to benefit from the huge additional revenues from the Champions League, the remaining clubs find it enormously difficult to challenge.

“At the same time, the gap between Premier League revenues and those of the Championship continues to widen and I believe a ‘fear factor’ is beginning to emerge amongst Premier League clubs outside the top few.”

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