A JOINT Russian and Ukrainian League could start as early as next year in a move that could have far-reaching consequences for Rangers.

The Ibrox club's owner Charles Green has stated he will do all he can to get his club out of Scotland and into a cross-border league.

Green even visited Belgium last week to speak to Standard Liege chairman Roland Duchatelet who warned in December that without a Dutch-Belgian league the game in those countries 'would die'.

Uefa have stated they would never allow such a move, despite giving the green league to a women's Be-Ne League.

However, massive Russian gas conglomerate Gazprom – a major sponsor of the Champions League and owner of Zenit St Petersburg – are determined to bring together the top clubs in Russia and Ukraine into a new league called the United Championship.

And they are confident they can persuade Uefa to give them the go-ahead as early as next autumn.

Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said: "Of course the approval of Uefa is required, and we will definitely do that. We can already say with confidence that there will be an interesting discussion.

"Firstly, this is because of the requirements imposed by Uefa's financial fair play rules. I am sure that if the United Championship is created, this requirement will be fully conformed to.

"We think it is realistic to hold the championship from the autumn of 2014 to the spring of 2015.

"But if the time to reach agreements drags on, then we plan to hold the championship from autumn 2015 to spring 2016."

Eventually, the league would include teams from all former Soviet countries and have a staggering total prize fund of £800million.