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SPL open to Atlantic League idea

Liedson is tailed by Rangers' Lee McCulloch
Rangers beat Sporting Lisbon of Portugal in last season's Uefa Cup

The Scottish Premier League is open to the idea of the Old Firm joining a new European league but warned it could take several years to establish.

Rangers manager Walter Smith would like to see an Atlantic League formed, with a reserve team playing in the SPL.

However, an SPL spokesman said: "We have signed a broadcast agreement with Setanta Sports until 2014 and there are no current discussions on this front.

"It's not something we see happening in the short to medium term."

Smith has become frustrated with the financial disparity between Europe's elite clubs and wants Uefa to formulate a new European league involving clubs from Scotland, Portugal, Holland and Scandinavia.

The Rangers manager believes such a league could run at weekends leaving Rangers to put out a second-string side for domestic competition.

Uefa has got to help bigger clubs in small countries and there are a whole load of them out there, desperate to get closer to the likes of England, Germany, Spain and Italy in financial terms.

Rangers manager Walter Smith

"Rangers and Celtic are two huge clubs who deserve to be in a better circumstance than they are in in Scotland," said Smith.

"There are a number of big clubs all over Europe who find themselves in the same position.

"We are nearly all hamstrung in terms of finance in comparison to the bigger leagues and few people are doing a great deal to try and equalise that.

"Uefa has got to help bigger clubs in small countries and there are a whole load of them out there, desperate to get closer to the likes of England, Germany, Spain and Italy in financial terms.

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"It's the biggest problem in European football at the moment and it impacts on us at Rangers and Celtic."

The SPL maintain they are not against Smith's suggestion in principle but warned it could take many years to establish such a concept.

"Over the past 10 years, we as a league have shown we're open to new ideas to help improve Scottish football," said an SPL spokesman.

"Indeed, when the concept of an Atlantic League was being worked on, we were actively involved in those discussions."



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see also
Celtic back Atlantic breakaway
16 Jan 00 |  Football


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