Dundee chairman blasts Scottish breakaway talk

Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has accused the Old Firm of "undermining" the Scottish Premier League after the chief executives of both Celtic and Rangers reiterated their desire to leave.

Celtic's Peter Lawwell outlined his wish for an invitation to a more lucrative league while Martin Bain of Rangers claimed his club would probably leave Scottish football within 10 years.

Thompson claims those statements jeopardise the SPL's commercial interests as the league bids to steer clubs through turbulent economic times exacerbated by the demise of former broadcasting partner Setanta.

"It's very unsettling for the SPL," Thompson told BBC Scotland.

"We're trying to strengthen deals with commercial customers, TV deals, etc.

"If you're talking about the Old Firm leaving, where does it leave us with regards to contracts?

"We have got a five-year deal with ESPN and Sky with a three-year break.

"I assume if they went somewhere else, that contract would be null and void. It would have serious consequences on the game."

SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster also branded Lawwell's comments "unhelpful" as he focuses on bringing more income to the 12 clubs.

"I don't think the Old Firm, particularly Celtic, really care about anyone else," added Thompson, who challenged Lawwell to explain his intentions at the next SPL meeting.

"After the demise of Setanta they had a go at all the clubs for voting for the current deal. Now they are undermining the SPL again.

"I don't know what's trying to be achieved. Potential sponsors don't know where they're going to stand in two or three years."

Much of the recent speculation surrounding the Old Firm's future has centred on plans for a English Premier League 2 that may be discussed at the next Premier League meeting.

But Bain sees a European league as a more likely scenario than an invite to the English ranks.

"There are a number of like-minded clubs like Rangers and Celtic throughout Europe - big, big clubs playing in smaller leagues - who are hamstrung by their environment," he said.

"I think, as that groundswell grows, UEFA will take note of it and that will maybe lead to other things."

But he added: "If the Premier League or a lower league want us and the arithmetics are right, and it's right for the club as a brand, then it's something we will explore."

Lawwell had earlier admitted he was in "awe" of the Barclays Premier League's "fantastic product", while admitting an extension of the Champions League would be a "natural" solution for Celtic to expand their income base.

But he also refused to rule out a move to the bottom level of the English leagues.

"We're in a watching brief," Lawwell said.

"Fundamentally, we need someone to want us.

"We'll be waiting for someone to want this magnificent football club to come and compete with them, and if that benefits Celtic and its supporters, then we would be delighted to take part."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?