By Chris Harris in Glasgow

It took longer than expected but, eventually, it arrived.

It's the question which is always asked when a Scottish team prepares to face an English team in European competition: should the SPL's Old Firm be allowed to cross the border and join the Premier League?

It's a thorny issue and usually provokes a guarded response. But Arsène Wenger broke new ground when the question was put to him in Glasgow ahead of Arsenal's Champions League qualifier at Parkhead.

The Frenchman cannot envisage Celtic and Rangers joining the English top flight but he can see the Scottish giants taking part in an European League somewhere down the line. Wenger would prefer to maintain the status quo but he believes the financial demands of football could usher in a new continental competition.

"I see more a European league developing with the teams rather than one or two teams going out of the country," explained the Arsenal manager. "I believe the national leagues will survive but maybe in 10 years we’ll have a European League.

"The way we are going now financially is that even the money coming in from the Champions League, for some clubs, they spend so much money that it would not be enough anymore. The income is basically owned, the whole organisation is Uefa and they distribute the money to the clubs.

"I am not 100 per cent that I am right but I see and feel inside our game that there are some voices behind the scenes coming up to do something about that. Especially if the rules become too restrictive for the big clubs."

If Wenger is proved right, how would a European League co-exist with the domestic competitions which are the life-blood of countries all across the continent? The Frenchman believes that the elite clubs would need two teams in order to cope with their fixture commitments.

"It depends – if a European league is created is there a transfer from the national league to the European league or is it a franchise European league?" pondered Wenger. "This is the question that needs to be answered.

"I personally believe only in sporting merit, so if one day a European League is created it has to be a transfer up and down. But that would be practically very difficult to resolve.

"If you do not want to kill the national leagues, these teams would have to pay nationally and in Europe. That means the European league would take place midweek and the national league would continue over the weekend. That would mean these teams would have two teams basically."

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18 Aug 2009