PETER LAWWELL, the Celtic chief executive, believes they would be the biggest club in the world if they had access to the kind of television revenue available in the English Premier League.
He claimed that, with their history, their support and their international appeal, Celtic had the same potential as Arsenal and Manchester United, maybe even Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Speaking at the club’s annual general meeting yesterday, Lawwell defended their economic strategy, and repeated his long-held view that they were handicapped by the Scottish league.
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“If Celtic played in a country that had the media values of the English Premier League, it would be the biggest club in the world,” Lawwell said. “I believe that.
“If you go back 25 years and compare us to Man United before the media and revenue boom, there probably wasn’t much in it. Our story is unique. I think it is rich and it’s the best.
“I think we have a potential fanbase with Scots and Irish diaspora around the world that would support that. And we have strong fundamentals here in Scotland from our fanbase. So I don’t see any barrier here in Scotland to Manchester United or Arsenal or top clubs down there if we were getting the same media values they are getting.”
Asked how Celtic would compare with Barcelona and Real Madrid in those circumstances, Lawwell replied: “Similar. The media values in England will outweigh or be similar to the media values in Spain or Germany. If it was a level playing field, with our strong fundamentals in terms of tradition, history and story to tell I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t be. We are working on it.”
He said that Celtic were actively exploring the possibility of a regional European league that would give them access to enhanced revenue streams. “We are plugged into it all,” said Lawwell. “If any opportunities arise – not just for Celtic, but for the Scottish game – we should be there.”
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