Premier League set-up talks delayed

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Premier League chairmen are expected to delay any discussion of controversial proposals to include the Old Firm clubs in a revolutionary two-tier set-up until at least the summer.

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside had been expected to put forward the proposal at Thursday's meeting of Premier League clubs but it has not been included on the agenda.

Gartside could raise it under 'any other business' but there is little appetite for such major changes among almost all top-flight clubs, and it is especially not viewed the right time at this stage of the season for such discussions.

It is also understood that although UEFA are neutral about the proposal, the Football Association and Scottish FA would try to block any attempt for Celtic and Rangers to be involved in the Premier League.

Gartside's plan is for a two-tier Premier League with 18 clubs in each division. Only one club would be relegated from Premier League II to the Football League each season.

The proposal would need the approval of 14 out of the 20 Premier League chairmen.

Gartside has argued it would offer more financial stability to teams in the lower half of the current top-flight.

When he revealed his plans in October, the Bolton chairman said: "We have to start considering what the structure of the league is, and it is time to look at two Premier Leagues - Premier League One and Premier League Two - and the way the finance is allocated.

"You could have 36 Premier League clubs split into 18 and 18 and that would also solve the problems of the winter break and supporting the England team.

"If the FA and the Government are going to start looking at debt structure and financial constraints on clubs then we are going to have to do something."

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