Plans to form an Atlantic League, which has been discussed since the 90s, were dealt a blow earlier this month when Celtic withdrew their interest in the project. However, the final nail may now have been hammered into the coffin by Norwegian chiefs, who have made it clear that they don’t wish to be part of the set up.
Irish investment guru Andrew Doyle was behind the proposal which would see Celtic, the Rangers, Aberdeen, Hibs and Hearts join a 20-team league against clubs from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the Republic of Ireland, with the league heavily backed by investment bank JP Morgan at a projected income of up to £350 million.
Norway would have been represented by Rosenborg, Viking, Valarenga and Molde, but Norwegian Premier League chief executive Leif Overland is far from keen on the idea.
According to the Daily Record, he said: “We received a proposal about the Atlantic League and we have discussed it with my colleagues in Sweden and Denmark. We do not consider it very likely for the league to become a reality and therefore we have not spent a lot of time working on the proposal.
“We haven’t rejected the idea completely, but our position is that our league and cups are more important and we want to make a comeback in Europe through UEFA’s competitions.
“UEFA have shown they are very good at building new projects and I understand they have great positivity about their new Europa Conference League
“From what I have learned, it seems JP Morgan are involved in the investment and with good financing like that, the proposal must be taken seriously.
“But I think it’s unlikely to be a good audience project because of the teams involved and the biggest challenge would be finding room in the football calendar. Some of these leagues play in the summer and some in the winter too, so it would be extremely challenging.
The Norwegian FA said that they weren’t keen on the idea and didn’t wish to scupper their relationship with UEFA, who have just signed a new TV2 deal. However, one of the Norwegian clubs, Valerenga, were at slightly more optimistic about the proposal.
In a report by the Daily Record, it is claimed that Valerenga’s CEO, Erik Espeseth insisted: “If the new Atlantic League were to start up and it wasn’t at the expense of the existing leagues and competitions and there was a lot of money in it, then, of course, we would be interested.
“But it would have to not clash with the UEFA calendar and I do not know how that could be implemented.”