Football League chairman Greg Clarke has poured cold water on the idea of Rangers joining the Conference in England – and says the English game should work with its counterparts north of the border to protect the Scottish game.
Ibrox chief executive Charles Green mooted the idea of his club moving south on talkSPORT last week, and Conference chairman Brian Lee refused to close the door on the possibility when he spoke to Keys and Gray earlier this week.
But Clarke insists it is far more complicated than simply issuing an invitation.
He told Keys and Gray: “If there was a serious move to bring a major Scottish club into English football that would be under the purview of the Football Association as the national governing body and would require a discussion with UEFA and FIFA.
“So I don’t think the Conference would be able to invite them in, and I don’t think the Football League would ever invite them in without a major conversation.
“And those conversations will only ever take place league to league, FA to FA, because we can’t be negotiating with each other’s clubs. And they would have to take place at the highest levels of English and European football before such a big decision can be taken.”
Rather than invite Rangers south of the border, however, Clarke believes a long-term solution needs to be found to safeguard the future of Scottish football.
“It’s a big issue,” he added. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Scottish football. I grew up in a generation when Scottish clubs won European cups and qualified for World Cups, so the thought of undermining Scottish football by stealing their best clubs and bringing them to England, and undermining the financial model which supports the professional game across many clubs… Scotland is better than that.
“We should be working together to create a business model in Scotland that supports professional football rather than stealing their big clubs and leaving the rest in a mess.
“We should be helping Scottish football through a difficult period rather than cherry-picking their best clubs.”