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Celtic Football Club needs to be removed from the Scottish Premier League and granted an English Premier League licence, before the SPL becomes obsolete.

The idea of Celtic joining Premier League is something that has caused widespread debate throughout British football for many years. Certain people in the media believe it would signal the downfall of the Scottish Premier League, whilst also devaluing the Celtic brand as they become ousted as nothing more than a Championship-level club dominating a league of third-division standard. I for one find this view to be completely inaccurate and feel that the removal of Celtic from the SPL is a necessary step to benefit the league.

Since the foundation of the SPL in 1998, no team outside of the old Firm has won the league. One must go all the way back to 1984/85 season in order to find a team that bettered the results of the Old Firm. That team was of course, Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen. With Celtic currently nineteen points ahead of the chasing pack, it’s safe to say that next year Scottish football will be looking at thirty straight years of league champions from the Old Firm. Despite the SPL title race providing as much entertainment value as watching the Parkhead grass grow, Celtic continue to draw in the crowds.

As Celtic’s Champions League dreams seem to be cut short after the schoolboy performance of Efe Ambrose, one wonders if the crowds will continue to enter the turnstiles. With no Old Firm Derbies this year, Celtic Football Club faces losing out on over £100,000 per game for a total of four games. £400,000 is a large sum of money in the SPL and the monotony of successive uncompetitive league seasons threatens to decrease gate receipts. It may take NewcoRangers a number of years to return to the upper echelons of Scottish football, and this is something that will undoubtedly harm Celtic, e.g. season ticket sales, television rights.

An £80 million television deal was agreed between the SPL and major broadcasters ESPN & Sky. This was an exceptional deal for Scottish football as it secured media coverage for five years. However, Ranger’ insolvency and the subsequent demotion (creation of Newco) to the Scottish Third Division led to the deal being amended and a reduction in the monetary value. With no Old Firm derbies, who can confidently say that Sky and ESPN won’t pull out completely in the near-future?

The removal of Celtic from the SPL is needed to prevent the extinction of top-level Scottish football. Without Celtic, other teams like Motherwell, Hearts and Inverness will stand a genuine chance of success and thus create renewed interest in the league. Managers will no longer be praying that their best player has a bad game against the Glasgow giants for fear they’ll snatch him away. Celtic’s removal and subsequent instatement to the English Premier League would allow a fairer share of (somewhat reduced) television rights in Scotland and increase audiences throughout Britain. People would be sitting at the edge of their seats, waiting to see who would win the newly-revamped Scottish League.

The instalment of Celtic to the English Premier League would be controversial, but the majority of Premier League clubs would support the decision, pending a UEFA decision to provide an extra European spot. Many Premier League clubs begrudge Celtic’s high attendances and European nights, and look down on the club as if they don’t deserve to play in the Champions League. They would see the extra European spot as something they could easily pinch from the Glaswegians and jump at the chance. An extra European spot would open the door for increased revenue in relation to television rights and thus benefit all teams.

There are a lot of permutations and potential problems if the FA were to provide Celtic with a Premier League license. However, it is clearly an issue that needs to be tackled and one that would benefit all involved. Teams like Swansea and Cardiff have shown that teams from outside England can compete in the Premier League, so who is to say that Celtic are not good enough. I don’t remember Everton or Fulham ever beating Barcelona, arguably the greatest team of all time, in the Champions League.

The SPL needs a fresh start. A league cannot survive if its winners are determined before a ball has been kicked. A change is needed to prevent the SPL becoming obsolete, and that change is the removal of Celtic Football Club.

SPORT IS EVERYTHING. Richard Barrett (Celtic fan).

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