November 29 – Celtic, unbeaten for 65 games in the Scottish Premier League, have reportedly turned their expansion attentions to Australia and have made an approach to buy an ownership stake in Australian side Central Coast Mariners who play in Australia’s A-League. They have also been linked with A-League champions Brisbane Roar.
The interest from Celtic comes at an interesting time in Australian league football with clubs at war over with their national federation, the FFA, over what they see as unfair allocation of vastly increased TV money from Fox which they say is not being shared fairly with the clubs that make up the bulk of that TV deal.
The FFA is itself overcoming a constitutional crisis that will widen its voting membership and increase representation in its governing board.
Celtic have little room for expansion of their business activities in Scotland. The Scottish TV deal will not grow significantly and sponsorship is proving a hard sell for the league. One area Celtic could grow is in player development.
The club signed Tom Rogic from Central Coast Mariners in 2013 for A$750,000 (£425,000) and according to Transfermarkt his current transfer value is about £1.8 million. The feeling is that there are other players with similar potential that Celtic could provide a sprinboard for into the Big 5 European leagues and the higher paying clubs.
Celtic officials were in Australia two weeks ago and spent time at the Central Coast Mariners though it is expected that any acquisition talks will not being in great detail until the A-League has finalised its commercial and league structure and settled its dispute with the FFA.
Mariners’ British-based chairman Mike Charlesworth said: “I’m not surprised about their interest based on a new A-League operating model because I think it’s got a lot of potential.”
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