Celtic hint at split from 'poor' league

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The Independent Online
Tommy Burns, the Celtic manager, has called for a drastic change in the structure of Scottish football and proposed the abolition of relegation. Burns also said the present configuration of four divisions of 10 clubs needed to be reviewed urgently.

His views on relegation, he said, resulted from the pressure that the current system was exerting on clubs. "I think we should do away with relegation for two or three years and let people play the game as they would like to play it," he said.

"Chairmen are putting too much pressure on their managers to succeed, insisting at all times that the clubs have got to be in the Premier League or it will cost them so much money. Two or three clubs are fighting for the championship while the rest are in fear of their Premier Division lives.

"That way the fear element creeps in and managers play cautiously to make sure they get something out of the game. An attacking team may go out and defend because they have got to get a point; they are always under intense pressure.

"It can also affect players so badly it can affect their salaries and contracts , whether they are part-time of full-time."

Burns said he wants to see more exciting football and the opportunity for younger players to develop at their own pace. Removing the fear of relegation for a while would, he believes, allow players a greater freedom to express themselves in the Scottish game.

Meanwhile, Fergus McCann, Celtic's chief executive, has hinted that his club might break away from the Scottish League, because of the lack of quality in it. McCann, in an interview with Four Four Two magazine, said: "I'd like to see some imaginative thinking. For us it's a quality league or a possible breakaway. Celtic need a competitive league and while people might think we would be happy with a league we dominate with Rangers, that is not so."

McCann also criticised the players, accusing them of causing financial problems for clubs. "There is so much greed among players that most clubs can't break even, and that has always been the case and will continue to be the case.

"The system works against itself. There are too many bad footballers and not enough good ones. There are too many clubs and not enough spectators. What you have is instant subsidy and dilution. The money coming into the game is shared too thinly.

"I don't mind revenue-sharing within a league, so long as it is a good league, and I don't see why we shouldn't think about admitting a team from Dublin and another from Belfast."

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