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  Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Dutch resurrect Atlantic League
Celtic and Rangers are now being wooed by the Dutch
PSV Eindhoven chairman Harry van Raaij has resurrected the idea of an Atlantic League involving clubs from Belgium, Holland, Portugal and Scotland, BBC Scotland has disclosed.

The revolutionary breakaway league appeared to have died a death after Europe's governing body last year voiced its opposition and promised a revamped Uefa Cup as an alternative.

But Old Firm giants Celtic and Rangers have recently become embroiled in a row over television contracts that threatens to break apart the Scottish Premier League.


Uefa need to accept that some clubs have outgrown their domestic markets
PSV spokesman
Now Dutch giants PSV are poised to again woo the Old Firm and their big box office potential away from Scotland - and a possible move to the English Nationwide League.

Van Raaij is writing to all top-flight clubs in Holland outlining renewed plans for an 18-20 club European League, which differs from the previous proposal as it no longer includes Scandanavian clubs.

A PSV spokesman said: "Uefa have to realise that the situation for clubs like ours is becoming more and more difficult and they need to accept that some clubs have outgrown their domestic markets."

The news arrives as Scotland's other 10 clubs are poised to confirm their resignations from the SPL.

That move was designed to force the Old Firm back to the negotiating table or face the prospect of having no opposition to play after the two-year notice period.

But the unity of the other 10 may now be tested to the full, with Van Raaij suggesting that up to five places could be available to Scottish clubs in his proposed Atlantic League.

The participating clubs would resign from their domestic leagues, but there would be promotion and relegation from their former nations thereafter.

Dunfermline Athletic chairman John Yorkston suggested it was almost certain that PSV would have kept the Old Firm fully informed of their latest plans.

Feyenoord defeated Rangers in this season's Uefa Cup
Feyenoord could face Rangers regularly
But Rangers secretary director Campbell Ogilvie claimed on Wednesday that his club had heard nothing about the new proposal.

Meanwhile, Oldham Athletic chief executive Alan Hardy is the latest from the crisis-hit Nationwide League to join the overtures towards the Glasgow pair.

"If they can be accommodated without it being of disadvantage to other Nationwide League clubs then I feel it should be considered," said the boss of the Second Division outfit.

"But would it restrict some clubs that season from being promoted?

"Will it mean more clubs being relegated from the First Division to accommodate them?"

World governing body Fifa and the SPL have already suggested that they would not stand in the Old Firm's way should they get the go ahead from the football association's in England and Scotland.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's Jim Spence
"The Atlantic League is back on the agenda"
PSV spokesman Pedro Salazar
"Sooner or later there will be a European league"
Dunfermline chairman John Yorkstone
"It comes as no shock at all"

Scottish football crisis

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