Michael vaan Praag
, the president of the Dutch soccer federation, revealed he plans to begin lobbying for a new North Atlantic League, an idea that UEFA shot down at the end of the
1990s. The league would allow Scottish powers Rangers and Celtic to compete against clubs from the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and Scandanavia. Vaan Praag believes that the smoldering idea had the
wrong timing 10 years ago. "There was no way we could push that through because UEFA at that time were conservative and full of fear," he said. "Now I am part of UEFA myself and, for
this course, I can begin the lobby. It makes sense to start the lobbying now."
The proposed new league has divided the allegiances of the Scottish Old Firm. Celtic's chief
executive Peter Lawwell
called the concept "Frankenstein", while his Rangers counterpart Martin Bain
sees value in competition the new league could create.
He told the Daily Record: "I find what Michael van Praag has to say of great interest. I mentioned last week it was time for a wind of change in the European game and that there are many other
like-minded clubs. UEFA themselves realize something has to be done to help the growth of clubs from smaller nations and, in turn, to protect the competitive nature of the Champions League.
"To hear someone of the stature of the president of the Dutch FA saying the time is right to begin serious discussions merely confirms what we ourselves believe. We welcome it and would hope
these talks begin soon."
Read the whole story at The Guardian »