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Who Is Telling Porkies?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 13/05/2002

FOOTBALL League chief executive David Burns has categorically rejected reports that Celtic and Rangers would be invited to join the Nationwide League at a meeting next Thursday.

Burns said "It's absolute rubbish, we have a regular board meeting this Thursday. Celtic and Rangers are not on the agenda, and won't be on the agenda. If they are coming then they won't be coming into the Nationwide League."

Burns rejected the suggestion that Rangers and Celtic would help the League insisting that the League does not need them. "The League chairmen, I would think to them the idea of Celtic and Rangers being dropped into the English Football League Division One is a nonsense.

But Rangers chairman David Murray claims the Football League will vote on whether to invite the Old Firm to join the Nationwide League. Murray and Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond met with League chairman Keith Harris last week to discuss the possibility.

Murray said: "The major attraction for them wanting Rangers and Celtic to come is their own TV deal, but I felt it was correct that we should attend the meeting and see what they had to say."

"What they will be proposing is that their member clubs either vote for or against an invitation coming to Rangers and Celtic but we will have to wait and see how that comes about."

"We were invited to a meeting with Celtic and the Nationwide League and we wanted to see what the options were. We would prefer to sit down and negotiate but, as the chairman of a club, I have to protect our side."

".… I am very disappointed that this has leaked!!…."

"The fact of the matter is that, if and when the rest of the clubs hand in their resignation, we will be left in a league of two. That is not satisfactory."

"So I don't think it was wrong of me to attend the meeting with my colleagues but I am very disappointed that this has leaked. We have got to make sure this opportunity does not go past us."

So there we have it! The Football League CEO should know. But does he? The Rangers chairman is hardly likely to say he has had a meeting if he hadn't. He also expects the matter to be discussed at the league meeting on Thursday.

David Burns says that is not the case. They are not on the agenda. So is someone telling porkies? Or did someone forget to advise the league hierarchy of the results of the secret meetings that have been held?

We will have to wait and see! Thursday will not be a boring day after all!



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