Clubs open to Atlantic League idea

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The prospect of an Atlantic league including the Old Firm has been backed by clubs from Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden.

Dutch football association president Michael van Praag plans to lobby UEFA in a bid to resurrect a proposal first mooted in the late 1990s before appearing to be consigned to the scrapheap.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell last week branded the concept "Frankenstein" but Rangers counterpart Martin Bain has welcomed moves by Van Praag to resurrect it, though both would rather join the Barclays Premier League.

And despite UEFA saying on Wednesday they would be opposed to an Atlantic league, Bain's view is shared by Dutch powerhouses Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven, Belgian giants Anderlecht, Danish side Brondby, and Swedish club AIK Stockholm.

Feyenoord spokesman Gido Vader said in the Daily Record: "It is important we don't slip even further behind the rest of the clubs in Europe. We have been having financial problems so it is something we'd all be interested in pursuing."

PSV media chief Pedro Salazar-Hewitt said: "We will always be open for creating a new situation and we know UEFA is aware of this problem. Any talks would be welcome by us."

Anderlecht communications manager David Stegen said: "The Atlantic league would be a formula we would be delighted to be involved in and interested in joining."

Brondby sports manager Anders Bjerregaard said: "We are positive about new actions and we would listen to what the concept is about."

AIK Stockholm sporting director Bjorn Wesstrom said: "We wouldn't rule it out."

But Danish giants FC Copenhagen believe the competition would compromise his club's Champions League ambitions. Club secretary Charles Maskelyne said: "If you are qualifying for the Champions League group stage then when can you fit in an Atlantic league? It is not really an option for us."

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