Will Rangers and Celtic join a ‘British Super League’ as part of Prem reforms?

Fifa, Uefa and UK government likely to ‘back’ British league and Perez insists ESL is not dead yet

Glasgow rivals Rangers and Celtic face each other on 2 January
(Image credit: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images )

The European Super League (ESL) debacle is yesterday’s news. Today, the talk on the terraces is all about the creation of a potential British Super League.

In an exclusive, The Sun’s Martin Lipton reports that the “big six” English Premier League clubs who withdrew from the European breakaway are “still convinced that reform of the Prem is essential”.

Lipton says that top of the list of plans being actively discussed is an offer to Scottish giants Rangers and Celtic to “come and play south of Hadrian’s Wall”. And while the ESL “shambles” was widely condemned, it is likely there would be backing for a British league from Fifa, Uefa and the UK government.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

“Whether or not the Super League was going to happen, we all feel that the Premier League has to be changed and improved,” a club source said. “It is time we opened it up to Rangers and Celtic. That would make sense for everyone.”

The Glasgow clubs would “jump at the chance to take a slice of the Prem cake”, Lipton says. “Their inclusion would also see a spike in interest from fans across the world, sponsors and broadcasters.”

In a poll of 7,500 football fans SunSport revealed that 47% were in favour of a British Super League, while 38% were against it and 14% were unsure.

Next step of ‘Project Big Picture’?

Premier League reforms made the headlines last October when details of the “Project Big Picture” were revealed. Designed to drive the “biggest shake-up in a generation” for English football, a document titled Revitalisation, seen by The Telegraph, was authored by Liverpool’s American ownership Fenway Sports Group with support from Manchester United.

It was said that Project Big Picture would reshape the finances of the game, the Premier League would be reduced to 18 teams and controlling power put in the hands of the biggest clubs. The big clubs were called out for their “power grab” attempt while Premier League bosses and the government also spoke out against the plans.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is also chairman of the European Super League

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is also chairman of the European Super League
(Image credit: Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

‘ESL is on standby - it still exists’

Even though nine of the 12 teams have now withdrawn from the European Super League, Florentino Perez says the breakaway competition is not “dead”. The Real Madrid president, who is also chairman of the ESL, insists that the project is just on “standby”.

Speaking to Spanish radio show El Larguero, he said: “If anyone thinks the Super League is dead, are they wrong? Absolutely. We’re going to keep working and what everyone thinks is for the best will emerge. The project is on standby. The Super League still exists.”

Perez also claimed that all 12 founder member clubs “have not left yet”. He added: “You cannot get out of the contract like this - they are binding contracts.”

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Mike Starling is the digital features editor at The Week, where he writes content and edits the Arts & Life and Sport website sections and the Food & Drink and Travel newsletters. He started his career in 2001 in Gloucestershire as a sports reporter and sub-editor and has held various roles as a writer and editor at news, travel and B2B publications. He has spoken at a number of sports business conferences and also worked as a consultant creating sports travel content for tourism boards. International experience includes spells living and working in Dubai, UAE; Brisbane, Australia; and Beirut, Lebanon.