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Two-tier Prem would be a crying shame

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Plans for a two-tier Premier League by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside appear to have hit a dead end as news has emerged that his proposal will not be included in the agenda for this Thursday’s meeting between top-flight chairmen. The plans would have seen two breakaway leagues of 18 teams formed – and would have included both Glasgow Rangers and Celtic.

This is the second time Gartside has floated the idea and although Uefa have officially remained neutral on the matter, saying it was for local leagues and associations to decide, there are plenty of other obstacles to overcome.

The Premier League, Football Association, Scottish FA and Football League would all need to give approval while it is likely that the ‘big four’ would oppose any such move. Their major fear would be a drop in income as two divisions could see wealth being shared, although other clubs may be more open to the possibility if they fear for their top-flight status.

While clubs looking over their shoulder at the relegation zone may be more inclined to back this proposal, 14 of the League’s 20 clubs would still need to support it for full approval. The Premier League has said they are unable to comment until they have seen more detail.

Malcolm Clarke, chair of the Football Supporters’ Federation, said: “There are all sorts of reasons why fans won’t want this but I’d just ask Mr Gartside – what is the problem to which this is the solution?”

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