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Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 12:19 UK

Celtic chief open to England plan

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell
Lawwell insists he has a duty to consider proposals like Phil Gartside's

Peter Lawwell believes it is his responsibility as Celtic chief executive to examine opportunities that may benefit the club.

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside has been working on a proposal to launch a new two-tier English Premier League that would include Celtic and Rangers.

Lawwell told Celtic TV: "If the right proposal comes along, we will give it serious consideration.

"I think there is a very strong rationale at the moment for an EPL2."

The idea that the Old Firm might depart the Scottish Premier League in favour of English football is not new.

But the difference this time is that the suggestion of the Glasgow teams' inclusion has come from a club in England.

Lawwell said: "We are a Scottish club. We are playing in Scotland at the moment and are delighted to do that.

"It's an exciting league but, in the long term, I think we would be obliged to look closer at something like that.

"We don't know anything about the details but we believe it is not only Bolton and Phil Gartside who have support for it.

We have a responsibility here to look at what is best for Celtic Football Club and our supporters

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell

"We'll just wait and see how it develops. These types of things have happened before and they haven't been able to deliver, so we will wait and take it from there."

Gartside's proposal is intended to lessen the financial impact of a club being relegated from the top flight of English football.

Lawwell added: "The bottom half of the EPL are getting a wee bit concerned that it is such a huge drop from the EPL into the Championship.

"So I guess they are looking for a softer landing and, potentially, this could deliver it.

"I believe the top four are looking for less games and an 18-team league. Maybe this could deliver that as well.

"Circumstantially, at the moment, there seems to be a lot going on but only time will tell how that will affect Celtic and Rangers."

If Celtic and Rangers made the move, they would start in the second tier of the new league structure, necessitating an absence from European competition.

Lawwell said: "It's too early for us to even consider that. But we all have a responsibility here to look at what is best for Celtic Football Club and our supporters."

William Gaillard, Uefa's director of communications, told BBC Scotland on Monday that his organisation would not oppose the move and that the matter was one for the Football Association and Scottish Football Association to consider.

However, Lawwell was sceptical that Uefa would stand on the sidelines on the issue.

"They would have to become involved in any restructure and we would have to give it serious thought," he said.

Meanwhile, after a quiet January transfer window for Celtic, Lawwell promised that manager Gordon Strachan would be provided with funds to bring in new faces to the club over the summer.

He said: "We'll sit down together, Gordon and I, and we will be planning to strengthen the squad once again."

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see also
Boyle cautious of Old Firm exit
20 Apr 09 |  Motherwell
Uefa would not veto Old Firm move
20 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Bolton chief wants radical change
23 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Strachan predicts new Euro league
12 Nov 07 |  Football

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