Tony Caw: Why War Between Russia and Ukraine Plays Part in Old Firm’s English Future

Tony Caw: Why War Between Russia and Ukraine Plays Part in Old Firm’s English Future

Scottish football is well and truly on its arse. Whether it be because of a lack of money in the game up north or because Rangers and Hibs are no longer plying their trade in the top-flight, for whatever reason, change is required – and urgently.

It therefore comes as no surprise that Scottish football is currently awash with league reconstruction chat – how best to structure the divisions so as to make our beloved sport more competitive; how to get the best out of our football teams that are currently languishing, chronically underinvested in, rapidly deteriorating and in need of improvement.

Everyone is well aware of the difference in finances between English and Scottish clubs. I’m not going to rehash and repeat information which everyone knows and I’m not going to look at whether it would be a good idea or not for Celtic and Rangers to go down to England – a million words have been written on the topic.

And while it appears that it isn’t going to happen, I can tell you dear TB readers that it was relatively close to happening very recently. Yes, I bring you something you may not be aware of; quite an interesting slant on a topic which has been discussed for years…

I have it on very good authority that a precedent was close to being set at the beginning of this season. Yes, brought to you by Gazprom (the multi-gazillionaires that sponsor the Champions League), a deal had effectively been done in the background which was set to see the Russian and Ukrainian leagues merge.

But, (and it’s quite a big but), in late 2014, Russian troops entered into the separatist controlled parts of Eastern Ukraine and war broke out. Damn you war! War has a nasty habit of getting in the way of things, doesn’t it?

If the two nations hadn’t gone to war, they would have been the first to join forces in a cross-border football league thus paving the way for a more realistic look at the Old Firm playing their football in England.

But now, the powers that be look on any sort of cross-country combinations with trepidation and fear – especially in the light of the Russia and Ukraine experiment and how that has backfired so spectacularly.

As heartbreaking as it is to write, and in the truest sense of the expression, we were so close, but ultimately, we are now so far from any radical overhaul of the international footballing league structures.


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