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SFA: We won't stop Old Firm walking away

The Scottish Football Association will not stand in the way of Rangers and Celtic if the Old Firm clubs seek a route out of Scotland, the organisation's president said yesterday.

There is currently no means for either club to join a competition in another country, although both are actively investigating their options. While league reconstruction is the pressing topic in Scotland just now, Campbell Ogilvie admits the governing body would assist the Old Firm in seeking a move elsewhere if it will make Scottish football more competitive.

"In the last 50 years, the league championship has been won by the Old Firm 45 times," Ogilvie said. "In Uefa, there has been a softening. They are opening up more to this cross-border [competitions]. Even if it goes somewhere, it's not going to move forward significantly in the next two or three years. We embrace looking at that.

"A year ago in September we went to a Uefa meeting in Cyprus where it was raised for the first time. We came back and reported to the Professional Game Board and the decision was taken that, yes, we should be looking at this. So we've been involved in discussions."

Ogilvie addressed the subject during a discussion on the league reconstruction proposals for a 12-12-18 set-up that will be voted on by the SFL clubs later this month. The SFA president believes that the positive aspects of the proposals, such as a single league body and fairer revenue distribution, have been lost amid the criticisms of the set-up.

"We do get hung up on numbers. The size of our league is the means to an end. One of the key issues with the SPL set-up is the gap between team 12 and team one in the SFL. It's approximately £750,000 for team 12, whereas team one in the SFL gets £75,000. That causes an issue with trying to maintain professional football at the top level."

Ogilvie also revealed that he will attend a meeting at Uefa next week to discuss the stadium criteria for Euro 2020, with the SFA hopeful of bringing one of the groups to Scotland – at Hampden and probably Murrayfield – after Uefa agreed to stage the tournament across the continent.

"It would be a group," Ogilvie said. "It will come back to the National Teams Competitions committee and then on to the [SFA] Executive, but the decision has been taken to do it. It is just the mechanics, how they want to operate the groups."

l Lawwell banks on charm, page 14

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