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Premier potential for Gartside ideas
Further suggestions put forward by Gartside, including having a two-tier league with a smaller top flight and changing the distribution of TV money, will now be fed into the league's ongoing strategic review. In relation to Celtic and Rangers, the campaign for the Scottish clubs to be allowed to join the English top flight is over for good, with Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore saying: "No means no." On Thursday, the 20 club chairmen overwhelmingly rejected the bid, with more than two-thirds voting against the proposal put forward by Gartside. Scudamore told BBC Radio Five Live: "The clubs discussed this and as far as Celtic and Rangers are concerned it's a non-starter. "The clubs constitutionally voted to say we are not going to take this any further. "We have made a clear and unequivocal statement. No means no - Celtic and Rangers are not coming in." Gartside's other proposals have not been rejected but will now be part of a wider review of the top flight which will be published next year. The Bolton chairman had expressed concerns too much money continues to flow into the coffers of the top four clubs. Last season, champions Manchester United earned £52.3million in Premier League television money, compared to £31.6million for bottom club West Brom. In his annual report, published last week, Gartside made it clear he believed addressing the big differences in income was the league's greatest challenge. Gartside wrote: "The gap between Premier League revenues and those of the Championship continues to widen and I believe a 'fear factor' is beginning to emerge amongst Premier League clubs outside the top few." The big clubs will oppose any major change to the status quo pointing out they have already boosted income to the smaller clubs by agreeing to every club receiving payment of facility fees for at least 10 televised matches totalling £4.8million, even if they only appear in a handful of live games on TV. The next overseas TV deal - which is split equally among clubs - is likely to be close to £1billion, almost twice as much as the current £650million, meaning an extra £6million per club per season. Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson hopes Thursday's decision sees the Old Firm give up on the idea of leaving the Scottish Premier League. He said: "I am not surprised the English clubs voted against it. "Now I hope the Old Firm put this behind them and work together with other SPL clubs to improve the game in Scotland. "I admit this matter has caused friction over the last few months. Going forward, we must all look at our own game and accept we all have a responsibility towards it. "The SPL is not as bad as many people make out. We just have to sell it much better."
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