THE much-mooted prospect of Celtic joining English football appears to be finally dead and buried following the latest meeting between the English Football League.
The ‘Whole Game Solution’ is the name given to a project for the restructuring of the English lower leagues and representatives of the EFL’s 72 clubs gathered on Thursday to discuss a number of potential changes, one of which included a proposal to add a fifth tier to English professional football.
That would see a new ‘League Three’ introduced underneath the Football League’s Championship, League One and League Two, while the Premier League – a separate entity from the EFL – would remain the pinnacle.
However, should that motion come to fruition, neither Celtic, Rangers nor Premier League B teams will be granted access to the fifth tier, as had been suggested.
A statement from EFL read: “Following a meeting of its clubs on Thursday (22 September), the EFL confirmed that the inclusion of Premier League B Teams, clubs from non-English leagues or those outside the English football pyramid will not form part of any ongoing discussions for the ‘Whole Game Solution’.
“All clubs, who will potentially vote on a final proposal in June 2017, have been considering the specific issues of regionalisation, the number of teams per division, divisional restructure, winter break and from where in the game the additional teams will come from.
“The majority of these issues, including how the funding redistribution model will work in the future, will continue to be assessed as the discussions are shaped over the next two months, but the option of sourcing additional clubs from anywhere but the National League has been withdrawn.”
The Premier League are unlikely to grant Celtic and Rangers direct access to their 20-team tier, meaning the last resort for Glasgow’s giants would be to start at non-league, unprofessional level in England.
A move to English football would, in time, become much more lucrative for the Glasgow giants - who boast fan bases on par with some of the biggest teams in the Premier League - but the lack of TV revenue available to them in Scotland has seen them struggle to keep up with England's top teams.