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Uefa will move to wider leagues, says Celtic's Lawwell

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell believes Uefa is coming round to the idea of expanding leagues beyond borders in a bid to reduce the disparity in European football.

Peter Lawwell says Uefa is coming round to the idea of expanding leagues beyond borders
Peter Lawwell believes Uefa is coming round to the idea of expanding leagues beyond borders

Lawwell also revealed that Celtic's Champions League run had already offset the financial impact of the loss of Rangers from the SPL.

Speaking in a club media interview screened at the Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions' annual general meeting, he revealed early proposals had already been mooted for regional leagues within Europe and that Celtic would be interested in exploring their potential.

Lawwell said: "We are committed to the SPL but nothing stays the same. There are initiatives in Europe. Uefa have opened their mind up to some form of regional leagues.

"I think they recognise the polarisation between the top leagues and the smaller leagues in terms of media values. There are very early proposals that may look at regional leagues."

Lawwell revealed Scandinavian countries as well as the Belgian and Dutch leagues were among those being looked at.

"Coming together to create bigger markets for media rights, they could try to close that gap," he added. "Our job at Celtic is to maintain standards. We believe we are a top-class European football club in everything we do.

"Any changes in regard to the landscape of football in Europe, we would like to think we would be a part of that."

The chief executive said the priority in joining nine other SPL clubs in voting against the newco Ibrox club's admission to the SPL had been to uphold the "integrity of the game".

"We had to stand up for what we believe in. We did that," he said.

"Clearly there will be a short-term commercial impact, financially we will suffer. But we had to do the right thing.

"The short-term impact is no Old Firm games. We qualified for the Champions League and more than made up for that loss and are in a reasonable financial position."

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