Thu, Dec 25, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Rangers boss wants Old Firm in European League

AFP , GLASGOW

Rangers manager Walter Smith believes his side and Glasgow rivals Celtic should be competing in a new European soccer league while their reserve teams still appear in the Scottish Premier League (SPL).

Smith is irked by the huge financial chasm that exists between Europe’s leading clubs and the Glasgow giants, which is arguably almost as large as that which exists between the Old Firm, who’ve monopolized the Scottish title between them for more than 20 years, and the rest of the SPL.

Now the Ibrox boss wants European governing body UEFA to create a new European league involving major clubs from the Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland and Scandinavia.

Smith said such a league could run at weekends leaving Rangers to put out a reserve team to play in the SPL.

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

“There are a number of big clubs all over Europe who find themselves in the same position,” he said.

“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 equalize that,” Smith said.

“UEFA have 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,” he said.

“It’s the biggest problem in European football at the moment and it impacts on us at Rangers and Celtic,” added Smith, whose side reached last season’s UEFA Cup final.

“There should still be a Champions League but there should be a European league to rival ordinary domestic leagues,” he said.

“We should have a Saturday fixture in a European league. If Rangers and Celtic were offered the chance to play in a new European format I would agree to that,” Smith said. “But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t have teams here.”

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