Ex-Prime Minister Blair reveals obsession to create British football league

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The former Labour Party leader wanted to strengthen the bonds between the nations and developed the idea of combining the football leagues

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair says he had a dream of merging Scottish and English football to create a British league.

Blair, who was in power from 1997 to 2007, wanted to strengthen the bonds of the United Kingdom in the wake of the Scottish devolution referendum, leading to the creation of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

In an attempt to create a feeling of unity in the UK, Blair became "obsessed" with the idea of combining the two divisions.

 "I know it sounds a bit strange but I was for a time quite obsessed with the idea that, for example, for football we should be opening up the English league and the Scottish league and having them together," he told BBC Scotland.

"I always thought we should be looking at ways of making sure that people felt a connection.

"I was looking for ways of making sure that as we in a sense diverged around devolution, that there were elements of convergence and I still think in the future it is important we look for that."

The idea of the two countries coming together in a football sense has been raised before.

Moussa Dembele Celtic Manchester City

Due to Celtic and Rangers' historic duopoly in the Scottish top flight, the Old Firm clubs have explored the possibility of joining the English system.

English Football League clubs dismissed the notion last year, but Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the Scottish Professional Football League, said in June that the situation could change.

“Nobody knows as we don’t have a crystal ball, but there is a willingness to embrace the concept of cross-border football," he said.

“There is an appetite for further cross-border competition including at league level across Europe and we are well positioned, having had this competition up and running.

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“I’d like to think any future cross-border competition would equally enhance and benefit the game for all across the British Isles.

“We have to be open-minded about where the future takes us."

In the most recent clashes between club sides from the two leagues, Celtic twice drew with Manchester City in last season's Champions League group stage, while Scotland also drew 2-2 with England in a World Cup qualifier in June.

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