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Should Celtic And Rangers Join The Nationwide?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 12/05/2002

ACCORDING to recent reports, the Football League is planning to invite Celtic and Rangers to join the First Division in time for the beginning of next season. There is a meeting of the League board in London this coming week and it is expected that the invitation will be made at that meeting.

If that invitation is made and the two "Old Firms" accept it, it will have an enormous effect on the Nationwide League.

Those opposed to the move point out that the Nationwide is the English League and that Scottish teams have no right to be included. Both EUFA and FIFA, in the past, have suggested that in international competitions there should be a British team rather than the individual nations teams that form the United Kingdom. The inclusion of the two largest teams from North of the border into the English league could add weight to that proposal.

There is also no guarantee, at this time, that if Celtic and Rangers enter the first division and gain promotion that the Premier League will accept them.

The proposed changes to the English League is that Celtic and Rangers, through their own actions, have made themselves unwelcome in their own country.

The sectarian troubles that are associated with both clubs is not something that is reflected in the English League and is something that we can do without.

The proposed changes to the English League are because Celtic and Rangers, through their own actions, have made themselves unwelcome in their own country. Wanting to claim the lion's share of the TV pot, they alienated the other teams in the Scottish Premier and left themselves in a position where they have nowhere to go.

If they join the English League and there is a replacement to the ITV Digital TV contract, will they claim more than their fair share of that?

On the other hand, supporters of the proposal suggest that any new TV deal will be enhanced by the presence of Celtic and Rangers in the first division. They have huge support both nationally and internationally and that would be attractive to the TV companies in terms viewing figures.

English clubs would also benefit for at least one game of the season with a probable ticket sellout. But there are also the additional costs to fans and clubs in England who will have to travel to Scotland for the away games.

Overall, their seems to be little advantage to the English clubs and, if both Scottish teams were to be promoted to the Premier League at the end of their first season, the benefits to the Nationwide League would be gone and English first division clubs would have sacrificed their promotion aspirations for a season in order to solve the problems of the Scottish Premier League.

Is it worth it?

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