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Old Firm in demand for North Atlantic league

The idea for Rangers and Celtic to compete against clubs from Holland, Belgium, Portugal and Scandinavia was first mooted at the end of the 1990s but never took off. Dutch FA supremo Michael van Praag - a leading member of UEFA's executive committee - believes that while the timing was flawed, the concept was not.

He said: "There was no way we could push that through because UEFA at that time were conservative and full of fear.

"Now I am part of UEFA myself and, for this course, I can begin the lobby.

"It makes sense to start the lobbying now."

Both Old Firm clubs are open to quitting the Scottish Premier League, preferably for its English counterpart but are split over this proposal.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell last week branding the concept "Frankenstein", while Rangers counterpart Martin Bain welcomed Van Praag's intervention.

He told the Daily Record: "I find what Michael van Praag has to say of great interest.

"I mentioned last week it was time for a wind of change in the European game and that there are many other like-minded clubs.

"UEFA themselves realise something has to be done to help the growth of clubs from smaller nations and, in turn, to protect the competitive nature of the Champions League.

"To hear someone of the stature of the president of the Dutch FA saying the time is right to begin serious discussions merely confirms what we ourselves believe.

"We welcome it and would hope these talks begin soon."

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