Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic believes Scottish football would benefit from his club playing a Premiership fixture in the United States and would welcome the idea being extended to his homeland of Australia.
Dundee, owned by Texan businessmen Tim Keyes and John Nelms, confirmed yesterday that talks had opened about the possibility of relocating a home league fixture against Celtic in either Philadelphia or Boston next season. The Scottish champions are believed to be open to the proposal which has yet to be formally submitted to the board of the Scottish Professional Football League.
Several administrative hurdles would have to be crossed before the unprecedented switch of a domestic league fixture to another country, with Fifa confirming they would have the final say on the issue even if it received the green light from the SPFL and SFA.
The English Premier League’s bid to stage a “39th game” on foreign soil was opposed by both their own FA and Fifa back in 2008. But Australian international Rogic is hopeful the plan for Dundee and Celtic to break new ground in world football comes to fruition.
“Playing abroad would be a chance to get Scottish football some exposure,” said Rogic. “Being at Celtic, I know we have a massive fanbase. If we went to the States for a league game, it would give fans there an opportunity to see us play. That would only be a positive experience.
“I know from going home to Australia there are Celtic supporters all over the world. I wasn’t in the team when they went to Australia for pre-season in 2011. It would be nice to go home to play a game for Celtic.”
The SPFL board are understood to be willing to consider Dundee’s proposal and they would have to back it in the first instance. It would then also require approval from the SFA and the governing bodies of the nation and region where the game was taking place – in this case the United States Soccer Federation and CONCACAF – before Fifa’s final ruling.
“In accordance with the Fifa Regulations governing international matches, any such match could only be played if approved by the member associations and confederations concerned,” said a Fifa spokesperson.
“Further, according to article 82.4 of the Fifa Statutes, Fifa may take in any case a final decision. For the time being we have not been contacted with regard to the specific proposal you refer to and therefore we are not in a position to comment further.”