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SBD Global/January 11, 2013/International Football

Celtic FC Willing To Take Financial Hit In Restructuring Of Scottish Football

Scottish Premier League Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell "wants unanimous backing for the contentious league reconstruction proposals for Scottish football, insisting they offer the only way out of the 'gridlock' in which he says the game currently finds itself," according to Stephen Halliday of the SCOTSMAN. Lawwell is a member of the Scottish FA’s Professional Game Board, which "had a key role in negotiating the agreement in principle, announced at Hampden on Tuesday, for a new 12-12-18 three-tier set-up," which will see the SPL and Scottish Football League merge into a single governing body. While Lawwell "admits the new set-up is imperfect, he ­believes Scottish football simply cannot afford to reject it." Lawwell said, "Every­body needs to get behind it. All of the stakeholders in the game -- media, clubs, ­governing bodies -- need to back it. You should not under­estimate the breakthrough in terms of getting ­unanimity within the SPL on this "to gain SFL support for the plan, SPL clubs "have agreed to a financial distribution model, which will see Celtic among the biggest losers in terms of prize money." Lawwell said, "We are giving up a considerable amount. There is a change to the distribution. Some would deem that fairer, I would probably not call it fairer because those who generate the value should get the most, but it’s a recognition -- certainly from Celtic -- that to get out of this gridlock we need to, in some way, compromise in the central revenues" (SCOTSMAN, 1/10).

LOSING HOPE: In Glasgow, Michael Grant wrote Lawwell "admitted the new structure would do nothing to improve the chances of any team winning the title other than Celtic and Rangers." Lawwell said, "The predictability of the outcome of any competition kills it and that's what happened here. Celtic and Rangers have been the biggest strength because we have generated the value, but some may also argue the biggest weaknesses because it's destroyed competition. This won't change things in that respect. You need a more radical solution in order to change that" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 1/10). In Glasgow, Keith Jackson reported former SFA President George Peat accused SFA CEO Stewart Regan and SPL CEO Neil Doncaster of "botching their big chance to save Scottish football." Peat "insisted the two Englishmen in the most powerful positions on Hampden’s sixth floor simply do not understand what it takes to run the game in this country" (DAILY RECORD, 1/10).
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