Celtic and Rangers 'should be invited to join Ligue 1 to save Scottish and French football', claims economics expert

Celtic and Rangers should be invited to join Ligue 1 in order to ensure the division is still competitive, according to a leading economist.

Celtic's Ryan Christie (left) tackles Rangers' Borna Barisic during the recent Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park

The TV deal for France’s top flight recently fell through which could have a serious impact on the French game in terms of other clubs challenging Paris Saint-Germain’s financial clout and dominance.

Dutch and Belgian football chiefs have started exploring a cross-border BeNe League in which the countries’ respective top divisions would merge in a bid to challenge Europe’s big five – the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, La Liga in Spain, Italy’s Serie A, and Ligue 1.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Citing the BeNe League talks and FIFA’s reported support of a North American merger involving MLS and the Mexican League Jean-Pascal Gayant, a Professor of Economics at Le Mans Université, proposed inviting the Old Firm clubs to join a reduced French set-up in a Le Monde column and expanded on his thoughts in an interview with So Foot.

Gayant said: “I think that the advent of a European Superleague is inevitable. I am convinced that we must anticipate, rather than undergo, an internationalisation of the so-called “domestic” leagues.

"The Champions League and other competitions have created a system that allows the best teams to play each other on a recurring basis but in the national championships, the gap between the top teams and the lower-ranked clubs continues to grow.

"One of the reasons for this growing imbalance is that the top teams benefit from Champions League money.”

Gayant believes that, as well as strengthening French football, it would help the Scottish game.

He continued: “The Scottish league is a bit wobbly; 12 teams meeting three times and then five more games to find a way to end the season by trying to correct the structural imbalance.

"The title hasn’t been won by a non-Glasgow club for 36 years. Making room for them in Ligue 1 seems to me an opportunity for Scottish football as well as French football.

"Firstly, reduce Ligue 1 to 16 teams or possibly 18 with the two Scottish teams to create a more competitive environment. With approximately the same payroll spread over 16 or 18 teams, the average quality of teams will improve and there will still be time to play European games.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.