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Celtic Hope For European Football Restructuring 2006-11-30

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Europe, Glasgow, Intolerance, Money, Scotland, Statistics.

Glasgow football club Celtic FC’s Chief Executive Mr.Peter Lawwell has branded ‘The Scottish Premier League‘ (‘The SPL’) as ‘unattractive’ but admits it is where the club must remain.

Mr.Lawwell was speaking in Dubai at ‘The Soccerex conference‘, where he gave a talk addressing the commercial challenges facing the world’s top clubs.

Tagged by FIFA‘ president Mr.Sepp Blatter as being ‘when football meets the economy, and football meets media, then it is Soccerex’, this gathering of footballing luminaries seeks to tackle big business issues within the game.

‘”The Premiership door has been firmly closed” because of the new “Sky Sports” deal so we have no real hopes on that one,’ Mr.Lawwell said.

‘But we want to take the Celtic story around the world. The problem is we’re playing in a fairly unattractive league in comparison to Europe’s major championships week in, week out.

There are maybe five or six clubs with truly global recognition and Celtic are one of them.

‘I think, looking forward, we’re going to need some form of reconstruction of the game in Europe — maybe a superleague at some point.

‘What we want to do is compete at the highest level because the size of the club and the history of the club demand that.

‘I would like to be involved in any restructuring that would do that, but the fact of the matter is that in a Scottish nation of five million people the media values are so low.

‘That’s a fact and I don’t see how that’s going to change. So we need to be a part of any restructuring that may take place in the future. The challenge is how do you grow and how do you compete with the Manchester Uniteds, Barcelonas, Real Madrids and Inter Milans? [see Top Ten clubs list]

‘There is an argument that if the market is allowed to develop the way it has done over the past ten years, without any intervention, then inevitably the strong will get stronger. And there could be a circumstance where in order to develop competition then there is a restructuring. But we’re not instigating: we’re sitting back and observing.’

Mr.Lawwell also revealed that spreading the ‘Celtic brand’ worldwide has become a major consideration in the club’s transfer policy. Although he stressed that targets must be blessed with ability, he was very open about what might also attract Celtic to a player.

‘Obviously they must be able to play, but to find players in the markets where we think there is growth is also important,’ he said.

‘We have Shunsuke Nakamura from Japan, we have brought in two Polish players — Maciej Zurawski and Artur Boruc — and last year we brought Roy Keane to Celtic which helped increase growth in our market in Ireland. Rather than sitting back, we have quite an ambitious plan to go out and bring Celtic to the world.

‘If there is some sort of environmental change in football, with an extension of “The Champions League” for example, people around the world will know about Celtic and want this club involved.’

When contacted last night about Mr.Lawwell’s comments, a spokesman for ‘The SPL’ was keen to highlight the cordial relations shared with the champions.

‘We have an excellent relationship with “Celtic FC” and Peter Lawwell,’ he said.

‘Celtic are one of our top clubs contributing to the ongoing development of “The SPL”.’


On joining the Premiership…

‘We believe it’s more likely than unlikely it will happen in three to five years. It’s about restructuring British football so we are in a more competitive environment’ — Celtic chief executive Ian McLeod, 2001-09-16.

‘The resistance is in the main from those clubs that feel threatened by Celtic and Rangers, who may get relegated’ — major Celtic shareholder Dermot Desmond, 2003-08-04.

‘Until they invite us, their league won’t be as good as it would be with Celtic and Rangers’ — Desmond, 2003-06-12.

‘I have never given up any hopes. I think it is a logical step’ — Desmond, 2003-12-10.

‘It would be fantastic in the Premiership against Manchester United or Arsenal. If Celtic get to the Premiership they will rebuild the stadium straight away because it will be too small’ — Ex-Celtic player Stan Varga, 2004-03-17.

‘The way the vote is structured in the English Premiership, with a 16-4 vote required, there is no chance of the Old Firm getting in’ — Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell, 2005-12-30.

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