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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Old Firm's move dealt a blow
The FA have quashed any hopes the Old Firm had of joining the Nationwide League
The FA quash hopes of an Old Firm move south
Football authorities in England have hammered another nail in the coffin of the Old Firm's hopes of moving to play in the Nationwide League.

Football League spokesman John Nagle said a "fundamental change" in the way the game was governed would be required for such a move to come off.

And a spokesman for the English Premiership insisted that Rangers and Celtic would not be allowed entry to the league even if they won promotion from the Nationwide Division One.

The news follows a statement issued by the Football Association on Tuesday, making it clear that it would not sanction the Old Firm clubs joining the Football League.

The obstacles facing the Scottish giants appear insurmountable despite various positive noises emanating from the Football League last week.


There is no necessity to tamper with Europe's most successful league
Premiership spokesman
Chairman Keith Harris spoke to representatives of Rangers and Celtic and it was reported that an invitation would be extended to the Old Firm at a meeting on Thursday.

But Nagle said on Wednesday: "There may be a perfectly understandable desire among some club chairmen to invite Celtic and Rangers into Division One.

"However, the reality is that this would require a fundamental change in the way football is currently governed. At the present time, it is unrealistic to expect such a change to occur."

There was no more positive news from the Premiership, where a spokesman said there was no mood among its clubs to change the structure of the league.

"Premier League rules would prevent Celtic and Rangers gaining entry into our competition from the Football League," he added.

"Nobody would deny that both Celtic and Rangers are clubs of stature and standing - but in the Premier League, we already have 20 great clubs.

"This season has only served to reinforce what a fantastic competition the Premier League is. There is simply no necessity to tamper with the make-up of Europe's most successful league."

Rangers chairman David Murray
David Murray met the Football league chairman
On Tuesday, the English FA indicated that only English and Welsh clubs could play in the Premiership and Football League, which are run on a pyramid structure that cannot be circumvented.

A statement released on the FA's official website read: "The FA made it clear that it would not sanction either Celtic or Rangers joining the Nationwide Football League.

"This was discussed at a recent board meeting. The FA has re-confirmed that such a move would be contrary to its policy and against the spirit of fair competition."

Isolated

European governing body Uefa's opposition to the move makes it all the more unlikely.

The Old Firm and representatives of the 10 other SPL clubs in Scotland are due to meet within the next week for "clear-the-air" talks.

Relations between Celtic and Rangers and the rest of the SPL have become increasingly strained after the two clubs scuppered plans for an SPL-owned, subscription-based television channel.

As a result of the Old Firm clubs voting against the plan, the 10 other clubs in the SPL announced their intention to quit the league, a move which would leave the Glasgow rivals isolated.

The other SPL clubs have also been angered by the constant speculation regarding the Old Firm's move south, which they believe is wrecking any chance of gaining the financial security of a new TV contract for their own futures.

Old Firm crisis

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