The Money Men Can’t Stop Messing With Football. It Should Make Celtic Fans Nervous.

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There is a weird piece of news from the bowels of FIFA today, another of those annoyances which football seems obsessed with these days.

Their General Council has met and is ready to listen to discussions about letting domestic leagues play some of their games abroad.

UEFA will go along with this as a matter of course … some leagues have been angling for this for years.

This is just nonsensical. Are fans who buy season tickets going to get discounts?

The whole purpose of buying one is that we can go and watch our team.

I know that it can be hard on fans who have to travel hundreds of miles to see their team but guess what? I’ve always wanted to watch a River Plate v Boca Juniors game too; I recognise that my only chance to do so and experience it in the full glory and madness is actually to go to Argentina.

La Liga wants to stage matches abroad by 2025.

They are desperate to do whatever they can to catch up with the EPL in terms of global exposure and money. This is another assault on national leagues and on club fans though, and God knows where something like this would leave the rest of the sport. Nowhere good, I would think.

On the surface of it, Scottish football should be safe from an absurd suggestion like this, right? I mean who is going to come and watch our teams play games in Florida or Sydney? Nobody, right? What do the citizens of those nations care about Aberdeen v Hibs? Well, we’re not stupid, we know it wouldn’t be Aberdeen v Hibs … we know exactly what it would be.

We’ve already seen attempts to play a “friendly” between the two clubs in Australia.

We know what a hilarious fuss that generated, after their club twigged that they were the sideshow on the Ange Postecoglou victory tour. But let’s not forget that our own supporters were no less outraged at the idea, and no less opposed to it than they were.

We should remain opposed to it, and let the club know that at every opportunity. Nobody in our fan-base should have the least interest in playing against their club abroad. Christ, I barely want to play them here domestically except that it can’t be avoided. And the idea of taking one of those games to foreign shores … even if it didn’t disenfranchise season ticket holders, this is not the image of our game that I would want to see promoted.

I really do wish the money people would stop messing with the game. UEFA’s extension of the European competitions – and particularly the Champions League – will be lucrative, sure, but it will also force us to jam two more games into the schedule; the Ibrox side will have it worse, they will have to play four qualifying games on top of that … it’s already a mess because greedy clubs want to mess with the structure.

Something like this just pays no heed to the ordinary supporters as all, and we should be watching this stuff with grave concern.

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  • Martin says:

    It’s not always a massive money spinner. Part of it is the redevelopment of Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar next season. There are no suitable pitches in Gibraltar to play the games, so some premiership matches need to move to Faro (politically, Spain is out). Fifa will have had to rubber stamp 5his, and probably other similar issues elsewhere. I’m not saying it won’t lead to the horrors you fear, but the aim is probably innocent enough.


    Oh the SFA/SPFL HIGH HEID YINS will all be like, I’ll have some of that.
    Seconds please if it’s on the menu.
    Merry Junkets here and there all on the fans dime.

    Blow Neck Torch Brass

  • Roonsa says:

    I met up with an ex work colleague a few weeks back. He lives in Edinburgh but is a Dundee Utd fan. Good lad. Anyway, we were discussing the English game and how much we just don’t CARE anymore. I used to love the English Premiership. Mostly in its early years when it was Man Utd going at it toe to to with Arsenal but in those days you wouldn’t have minded taking in a game between, for example, Villa and West Ham. It was just good to have football on TV to watch with a nice cold beer. Now I don’t even tune into Match of the Day which was something I’d never thought I would ever say.

    What the “money men” have done to the game down there is awful. Although it is refreshing to have two English team free Champions League semis this year. Obviously this will just be a blip. Normal service will be resumed on that score PDQ.

    In terms of the product (I hate that is referred to as a product), the “quality” might have improved but the entertainment values have been flushed down the bog.

    If that’s what those in charge of other European leagues aspire to then, for me, there’s little future in the game for me other than watching Celtic. It’s sad but that’s the way of things. Big fish eat the little ones. It’s all going to disappear up its own arse very soon.

    Goodbye football.

  • Jim says:

    It is another way to create the European League. Slowly undermine local fan bases. Why watch your local team if you can go and see the ‘superstars’ ?

    If Barca, Real, Inter, Bayern etc ever want to play a match in Glasgow or Edinburgh they should be told to GTF.

  • Captain Swing says:

    I think the prospect of us playing a Glesca Derby game in Florida, Canada, Sith Ifrica or indeed in Timbuktoo is only part of my concern. You’ll notice if you’re paying attention that Man United have already arranged a pre-season friendly against the Orcs at Murrayfield, where they played Lyon last summer too. They aren’t doing this to give their Manchester-based fans a day oot in Embra, they are looking to pick up more fans in Scotland, where they already have several supporters clubs which travel to their games. Until only a few years ago the admittedly dreadful Sportscene coverage was very much second fiddle to Match of the Day, and we are in severe danger of losing the next generation of supporters to armchair fandom and football tourism – younger folk turned off by the dismally low quality football, generally crap matchday experience and tribalism of Scottish fitba who pick an English, Spanish or indeed German team, follow them avidly on Sky and go to see them in the flesh maybe once or twice a season. Being allowed to play league games in foreign countries would exacerbate this trend and the SFA should resist this idea strongly, indeed our own club should too: a few shekels might be made by playing the Orcs is Jacksonville, Toronto, Jo’burg or wherever in the short term but this is A Bad Idea for Scottish football and by extension for Celtic. Big clubs from bigger leagues will use this to further extend their ‘brand’ and ‘reach’ and it would be to our clubs ultimate detriment.

  • Henriksgoldenboot says:

    The biggest and most important point about this piece tonight is us, the fans. But we are only important to ourselves, only the fans see and know our true valueto our clubs and the game. And by that I mean the money men both at club level and governing body level have been chasing after the corporate gold/franchise/media money for almost 2 decades now, and I have raised this with you previously, we are now but an afterthought in the footballing world. Athough we are essentially the fabric that holds our clubs together whatever your tribe may be.

    The game has been sold out from under our feet James. You know it, I know it, we all know it and I’ll give you an example. Look at trying to get tickets for a Scotland match at the euros. But the conundrum for the governing bodies and the marketing gurus is that part of the experience they are trying to sell is us THE FANS, and you hit the nail on the head with your Boca juniors reference, you would love to go and see one of those games you’d love to experience the game that includes that atmosphere. Would it be the same if you were to travel to old Trafford to watch that same game. The ideas and strategies, the rule changes and tweaks coming out of FIFA/UEFA etc at the moment are bordering on the ridiculous! With VAR at the top of the list. Just some of the reasons why I personally have fallen out of love with the game. Apologies for the ramble everyone, but of all the things that are wrong with the game at the moment this is o e that grates the most.

  • Effarr says:

    So the Ibrox side are going to qualify are they? They`ll make even more money than Celtic at that rate. And here`s me delighted to think they would struggle to rub two pennies together.
    As for playing games outside the country: I wonder what the global warming theorists think of this with all the extra air miles that (allegedly) cause
    the warming. Despite struggling to keep
    up with their zero carbon targets, there are more and more crowd pulling events
    all over the world every year and now FIFA are aiming to have even more. Meanwhile, for the wee common man, keep using the same plastic cup a few HUNdred times in case you set the world on fire.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    “The money men can’t stop messing with football and it should make Celtic Fans nervous”

    Well it did until tonight and it’s despite yous and not because of youse thT Celtic are CHAMPIONS…

    Lord Lucan-Nicholson and Mr Lawwell will be mighty relived tonight for soure-

    I’m pist and happy…

    Fiftey Four to One –

    Only 53 to level up with Celtic then Sevco ….

    Catch us if youse can – Ma name is Fan (A Fuckin Hoops one actually) – And I’m yer man…

    And Huns get Ban – And we get Jan (Vennygoorofhesselink) – And NaN God rest her was a Hi-Be Fan

    And Pan The Huns we did – And They Ran – Gers died – And San McGill I’m drunking – And Tan them all ah will…

    And Van Hoydonk is Happy tonight – And Wan Kerr is not happy tonight’s as that is what most but not all Sevco Huns are is Wan Kerr…

    Good night and God Bless and hope Hangovers not to bad tomorrow –

    The Sevco Huns will be pure sick but not with drinking the celebrity champions boze !!!!

  • DannyGal says:

    Very true James, but re their 4 qualifiers, do the broken brothers not also have to play four friendlies as part of the compensation for withdrawing from the Australian tour?

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