Football League ready to repel Old Firm

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The Independent Online

David Murray, the Rangers chairman, insisted the Old Firm could soon be invited to join the Nationwide League – despite an official denial from the Football League chief executive David Burns.

Murray and the Celtic majority shareholder, Dermot Desmond, met the League chairman Keith Harris last week to discuss the possibility of moving south. The Ibrox chairman maintains that clubs in the Nationwide League will be asked to vote on whether they want the Old Firm as part of their structure to entice greater television bids following the collapse of ITV Digital.

"The major attraction for [the Nationwide League] wanting Rangers and Celtic to come is their own TV deal," Murray said. "What they will be proposing is that their member clubs either vote for or against an invitation to Rangers and Celtic but we will have to wait and see how that comes about."

Murray claimed Rangers are contemplating urgent action after the Scottish Premier League's 10 other clubs announced their decision to resign from the top flight north of the border in two years' time, but Burns said: "Why would it give English league football a boost when attendances this year, are up by nine per-cent? Nationwide football has never been as popular.

"Celtic and Rangers would increase attendances but that's the case anyway and it would have to be done in a properly organised competition.

"To League chairmen, I would think the idea of Celtic and Rangers being dropped into the English Football League Division One is a nonsense.

"They would be dropped into the middle of the football pyramid and I would say the Premier League would have something to say about that.

"We have a regular board meeting this Thursday and Celtic and Rangers is not on the agenda and it won't be If they are coming, they won't be coming into the Nationwide Football League."

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