The director of Danish club FC Copenhagen has substantiated talk of an international league for Northern Europe, in which teams from Scotland, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Sweden and Norway might take part.
In an interview with Danish tabloid BT, Anders Horsholt has confirmed that discussions over a potential 'Atlantic League' have taken place. Speaking about rumours of such a development, he said: "Yes, it's true. If we do not act now, we will see the biggest clubs grow larger and stronger while it will be increasingly difficult for clubs like us."
With changes to the Champions League structure favouring Europe's top-ranked leagues – the top four teams in the top four-ranked associations will be guaranteed a place in the tournament from 2018 onwards – many clubs like FC Copenhagen are now deeply worried about being isolated from European competition. "We have to look at what alternative international opportunities there are for Copenhagen in the future," Horsholt said. "It is still too early to talk about specific models, but discussions about leagues which cross European borders are something that we are looking at and aiming to actively participate in."
Back in February, The Daily Record suggested that Peter Lawwell, Chief Executive at Celtic, had reached out to Ajax, amongst others, about the possibility of working together to fight against the restructuring of the Champions League as a competition. The same paper is now reporting that Celtic and Rangers might be amenable to the idea of an 'Atlantic League', having flirted with various schemes over the years to leave the Scottish Premiership in search of lucrative pastures new.
Noting that some of the biggest clubs in Europe had backed the controversial changes to the Champions League, Horsholt went on: "We understand why the biggest clubs act as they do, but it also means that we must look at the market and seek alliances with teams from other countries in the same situation.
"This is not a situation that we have created, but we have to deal with it because we cannot live with the alternative. We must continue to develop as a club and be attractive to sponsors, as well as the most skilled players and best staff. Therefore, it is essential that we compete at a European level.
"FC Copenhagen and the other European clubs that will participate in the new European league will have to drop out of their domestic leagues. It is still way off in the future, but that may well be the end result of all this."