Talks aimed at potentially establishing a North Atlantic League involving Scottish clubs have been confirmed by a director of FC Copenhagen.
Sportsmail reported in August that a concept first mooted in the late 1990s was back on the agenda. It is being driven by growing concern over a forthcoming revamp of the Champions League that will increase the power of Europe’s elite leagues.
Teams from Scotland, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Holland, Norway and Sweden could all be involved in the proposed set-up, targeted for the end of the Champions League broadcasting cycle in 2021.
Copenhagen chief Anders Horsholt (left) has confirmed talks about a North Atlantic League
So far, the discussions have been shrouded in secrecy. But FC Copenhagen Anders Horsholt has now admitted they are ongoing – and expressed the view that the clubs involved would eventually resign from their domestic divisions.
In theory, up to four Scottish sides could be included in any new set-up. Celtic and Rangers have both been mentioned in Denmark, but Horsholt claims it is too soon to talk details.
‘Yes it’s true,’ he told Danish media of the talks. ‘If we do not act now, we will see the biggest clubs grow larger and stronger while it will be increasingly difficult for clubs like us.
‘We must therefore look at which alternative international opportunities for FC Copenhagen in the future.
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‘Here it is still too early to talk about specific models, but the discussion of leagues across European borders is a theme that we look at and actively participate in.’
A spokesman for Feyenoord also confirmed their involvement in talks, begun in response to Champions League plans that will hand automatic places to the top four clubs from each of the top four nations.
Those changes, yet to be fully ratified but set for implementation in for the 2018-19 season, have caused alarm among clubs from smaller countries. They fear being frozen out while the rich claim even more money.
‘We understand that the biggest clubs act as they do,’ added Horsholt. ‘But it also means that we must look at the market it leaves and seek alliances with teams from other countries in the same situation.
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‘This is not a situation that we have created, but we have to deal with it because we cannot live with the alternative accounting. We must continue to develop as a club and be attractive to sponsors, the most skilled players and staff. Therefore, it is essential that we are at the European level.
‘FC Copenhagen and other European clubs that will be part of a new European league will step out of their domestic leagues. It is still well in the future, but it may well be the result.’
Earlier this month, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster launched an outspoken attack on the Champions League power grab by Europe’s elite, claiming it could ‘damage irreversibly the mid-level domestic leagues’.
Neil Doncaster spoke earlier this month to openly attack the Champions League power grab
‘The threat is very real, very significant,’ said Doncaster. ‘We are only talking about the cycle of 2018-21 but the direction of travel that UEFA have embarked upon is a very dangerous route.
‘It threatens the very future of very top-level football and it is vital that a line is drawn in the sand now and the EPFL (European Professional Football Leagues) take the firm stand that is required and start the pulling back of the very damning proposals.
‘It is important to be a domestic champion club, that is the same across Europe, it is about access to the top-tier of European competitive football with the other champions of European football.
‘Remove that and you fundamentally remove what is important about being a champion in a domestic contest.’
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