Thursday, March 30, 2017

Talks over ´Atlantic League´ featuring Celtic, Rangers and Ajax

SoccerNews in Eredivisie 13 Oct 2016

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Copenhagen chief executive Anders Horsholt has confirmed discussions have been held over a proposed ‘Atlantic League’ that could feature Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers, as well as Dutch giants Ajax.

Talks about a cross-border competition have been sparked back into life by planned alterations to the Champions League.

UEFA have given the green light to Europe’s four biggest leagues – the Premier League, Serie A, LaLiga and Bundesliga – four automatic spots in the competition’s group stage from 2018.

Another suggestion put forward was that big clubs who fell out of Europe’s premier competition, as the likes of Manchester United, AC Milan and Inter have in recent seasons, could be given invitations to return.

All of this limits the spaces available to clubs such as Copenhagen, who sit above 2004 winners Porto in Group G of this year’s competition.

And with the squeeze on them growing, supposed ‘second-tier’ clubs are being forced elsewhere.

Horsholt told BT: “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 alternative international opportunities for FCK [Copenhagen] in the future. 

“It is still too early to talk about specific models, but the discussion of leagues across European borders is a topic we look at and actively participate in.”

The ‘Atlantic League’ is a proposal that dates back to the 1990s and was brought back into focus earlier this year when reports in Scotland suggested Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell had spoken to counterparts at Ajax and other clubs about a cross-continental division.

Celtic and Old Firm rivals Rangers have also been regularly linked with moves into England’s league system, which is currently home to three teams from Wales.

“The consequences of this development may ultimately mean that FCK and other European clubs that will be part of a new European league will step out of their domestic leagues,” Horsholt added.

“It is still way in the future, but it may well be the result.”

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