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Celtic, Rangers and the European Golden Cup vision that was set to change football forever

Daily Record logoDaily Record 24/04/2021 Mark Walker

Celtic and Rangers were at the forefront of establishing a European Super League themselves 19 years ago, former Deportivo La Coruna president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro has revealed.

The football world was rocked this week after a dozen clubs, including six from England, outlined plans to launch their new breakaway league which provoked outrage among fans.

All English teams and all but three clubs eventually bowed to pressure and withdrew from the league amid fans' protests and the plans look dead for now.

However, while the Old Firm weren't part of the project this week, it was a different story almost two decades ago when a plan was hatched to launch the European Golden Cup.

The European Golden Cup was the brainchild of ex-Deportivo chief Lendoiro, whose club had stunned Spanish football by winning La Liga in 2000, before a disastrous few years that now see them playing in Spanish football's third tier.

And Celtic and Rangers would have been two clubs in an 18-team league that would have quit their domestic competition to play in a European Golden Cup, according to Pardo.

He said: "The Super League proposal might not have happened this week, just as it didn't happen when we first proposed a very similar idea in 2002. But be in no doubt, it will happen soon.

"The idea we had almost 20 years ago was very, very similar to this week's idea. It was open to clubs in Europe who had been historically successful and not just those with the most money.

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"From Spain, we had Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and ourselves Deportivo. There were fewer English teams involved because their Premier League didn't carry as much weight as it did now. There were three Italian clubs and Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund from Germany.

"We had Celtic and Rangers from Scotland and clubs like PSG, Ajax, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Marseille, a Greek team and a Turkish club.

a group of football players on a field: The Super Cup has been scrapped © REUTERS The Super Cup has been scrapped

"The idea was for promotion and relegation in a home and away league competition. It was more open than the European Super League.

"Our problem was that we didn't have a charismatic leader like Florentino Perez and we didn't have a financial guarantor behind us like JP Morgan.

"We promised to double the income of all the clubs involved. The clubs were all in favour because they would have benefitted enormously.

"Then, as is now, those clubs complained that UEFA kept too much of their money.

"But I have no doubt that this is where football is heading. The power of European football is going to pass to the clubs, that is for certain. The future is irreversible - European football will be designed by the clubs themselves, which is the logical thing to do.

"They failed this time because they were in too much of a rush because they wanted to announce it before the reform of the Champions League by UEFA.

"But they will be back and they won't fail the next time."


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