by Blair Meikle
The Old Firm have made no secret in the past of their desire to take their global appeal to the next level by making it to the English Premier League.
However, the possibility of them competing cross-border has been met with opposition for a variety of reasons. If it were to never come to fruition they would have to look at alternatives and one could be an Atlantic League.
It was first talked about in the 90s but was killed by Uefa’s policy of maintaining individual associations’ sovereignty.
It may now be revisited with talk of the Champions League reserving automatic spots for Spain, Italy, England and Germany, making it difficult for teams from smaller leagues to qualify.
FC Copenhagen director Anders Horsholt recently confirmed that talks had taken place so with the real possibility of this picking up traction, we take a look at how an Atlantic League would work.
Who would be involved?
Teams from the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and of course Scotland, as well as possibly other nations such as Portugal and Greece.
How would it be formatted?
The original plans were for a 16-team league with each team meeting each other home and away throughout the season.
However, by 2002 this had increased to 18 or 20 and there is likely to be a number of teams from each nation looking to join so there may be the possibility of further expansion.
There may also be scope for a pyramid system in which teams can gain entry by winning their domestic league.
Which foreign teams might be involved?
Dutch heavyweights PSV Eindhoven, Ajax and Feyenoord almost certain to be involved, while FC Twente have improved in recent years an could be included.
Standard Liege and Anderlecht are likely to represent Belgium, with European giants Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon Portugal’s leading contenders.
The Scandinavian nations would be represented by the likes of FC Copenhagen, Brondby, Rosenberg, Molde and IFK Goteborg and Malmo.
Will Celtic and Rangers definitely represent Scotland?
The Old Firm have historically been the names put forward but Rangers’ current position may place that in doubt. Aberdeen have been the nation’s second force in recent years and there is a battle on for the runners-up spot in the Premiership this season. If there were to be another spot open to Scotland then Hearts and St. Johnstone may also feel worthy of it.