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Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

SPL happy to hold on to Old Firm

Celtic and Rangers are keen to leave Scotland behind
The Old Firm are not wanted by the top flight in England

The Scottish Premier League has welcomed the decision of their English counterparts to reject plans for an Old Firm cross-border switch.

The proposal was denounced as neither "desirable or viable".

And a spokesman for the SPL said: "Rangers and Celtic are massive assets to the SPL and a vital part of the Scottish footballing landscape.

"Both clubs will continue to make an important contribution to the development of our league."

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside was behind a proposal for a new two-tier set-up of between 36 and 40 teams that would include the Old Firm pair.

However, the 20 top-flight clubs in England wasted no time in dismissing the idea.

I don't think it's the end of the talk in terms of moving away

Alastair Johnston
Rangers chairman

And Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith was also delighted by the news.

"I'm glad the uncertainty has been taken away from the situation," said the former Rangers midfielder.

"It wasn't beneficial having that uncertainty hanging over the game in Scotland.

"Hopefully we can move forward with both clubs focused on being a big part of the Scottish set-up."

Celtic and Rangers insist they had no involvement with Gartside's blueprint but have made no secret of their desire to move away from their domestic league in search of greater television and advertising revenue.

Despite the emphatic rejection, Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston believes his club are soon destined for a different stage.

"We haven't really been in the vanguard of joining the EPL and this particular decision does not surprise me or overly concern me," he told BBC Scotland.

"I don't think it's the end of the talk in terms of moving away because I think there are winds of change moving across Uefa.

"It may not be in terms of restructuring leagues, but quite clearly a different business paradigm will be required.


"For Rangers or Celtic to continue to enjoy a profile in a new world order of football, something will need to change in the next two to five years."

In October, Rangers chief executive Martin Bain said he thought the Ibrox club would leave the Scottish Premier League behind in the next 10 years.

And Bain suggested that a new European set-up might be the likely escape route.

Celtic issued a brief statement, saying: "Clearly, this is a matter for the Premier League and an initiative created by members of the EPL.

"We have always maintained a watching brief on this issue, however at the moment we note the decision and move on."

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see also
Premier League rejects Old Firm
12 Nov 09 |  Premier League
Ex-Old Firm duo back move south
11 Nov 09 |  Scottish Premier
SPL unfazed by Old Firm exit talk
08 Oct 09 |  Celtic
Rangers chief predicts SPL exit
08 Oct 09 |  Rangers
Celtic chief open to England plan
22 Apr 09 |  Celtic

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