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Interesting proposal in today's Times newspaper. Apparently Celtic for their own selfish reasons are attempting to stop this.

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/new-atlantic-league-plans-sunk-by-celtic-m8hw3svx8

 

New Atlantic League plans sunk by Celtic

Revised plans to create an Atlantic League have been hit with a major blow as Celtic decided they were no longer interested in being involved.

Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian were all informed of a detailed proposal to resurrect and modify the 2016 Atlantic League project with the claim of a guaranteed £900 million of media rights to share between 20 clubs over its first six years. Hearts were also included in documents seen by The Times and which involved the five biggest Scottish clubs leaving the Premiership to play all their league football against sides from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Ireland.

The entire project has now been put on hold after Celtic’s major shareholder, Dermot Desmond, said his club would rather continue with the status quo or pursue a possible British league. Celtic’s withdrawal, the Covid-19 pandemic and last month’s reports of a breakaway European “Super League” all contributed to the Atlantic League plan going into cold storage.

The concept of a competition for bigger clubs from leagues in small and mid-sized northern European countries first emerged in 2000. It was last seriously redrawn and advanced in 2016 by the Irish sports investor and corporate governance lawyer Andrew Doyle, co-owner of League of Ireland club Shelbourne. Doyle is the driving force again and his firm SAL Sports Capital has the multi-national investment bank JP Morgan on board for the latest Atlantic League plan.

The new version, evolved from the project of four years ago, envisioned an entirely new tier of competition in Europe which would be collaborative with Uefa and the national governing bodies. In addition to Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Hearts, the clubs to be included in the proposal were Malmo, Norrkoping, AIK Stockholm, IFK Gothenburg and Hammarby (Sweden), FC Copenhagen, Brondby, Esbjerg, Aarhus and Midtjylland (Denmark), Rosenborg, Viking Stavanger, Valarenga and Molde (Norway) and one club from Republic of Ireland.

 

Those countries would merge their Champions League and Europa League qualification routes so that their clubs made it into the Uefa tournaments by finishing high in the Atlantic League. The big five Scottish clubs would remain members of the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League, though, and there would be annual promotion and relegation play-offs so that others such as Motherwell or Kilmarnock could also step up to the Atlantic League.

Major solidarity payments to the remaining Scottish clubs were proposed. The Scottish Cup would continue as is, with the winners still qualifying for Europe. It is understood some senior figures at Uefa and the SFA were aware of the plans and open to them.

SAL Sports Capital began market research, developed an original business plan and initially engaged with clubs including some in Netherlands and Belgium in 2016.

At the start of this season Doyle informed clubs that SAL and JP Morgan had spent “the last several months” identifying the right financial partner for an Atlantic League and had succeeded in attracting multiple bidders willing to underwrite the media rights.

But, on November 6, Doyle emailed stakeholders saying: “We received a call a few weeks ago from the principal shareholder of Celtic to say that he and Celtic were not interested in pursuing the project any further, preferring the status quo or the concept of a British isles league. This was both a surprise and a disappointment to us given our lengthy engagement with the clubs and our success in receiving proposals for underwriting the league worth well over one billion euros. However, of course, we must respect their decision.

“We remain of the view that the interests of all stakeholders in small and mid-sized European countries are best served by consolidating their markets and that resolving the competitive balance issue . . . can only be achieved in this way. We know this is Uefa’s greatest concern and were very encouraged by our stakeholder engagements to date.

“However, having consulted with various clubs on this we have come to the decision, in light of feedback, that when we combine this news with the issues caused by Covid and by the proposed ‘Super League’ and related developments, we are best to press pause on this project until the landscape has changed. This may not happen in the short term. We will take time to consider alternative models and may engage with some of you over time on them.”

Doyle was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Atlantic League Q&A

What’s the idea? 20 clubs from Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Republic of Ireland leave their domestic leagues to compete against each other in a new competition worth at least £900 million over its first six years.

Who would be involved? Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Hearts from Scotland; Malmo, Norrkoping, AIK Stockholm, IFK Gothenburg and Hammarby (Sweden); FC Copenhagen, Brondby, Esbjerg, Aarhus and Midtjylland (Denmark); Rosenborg, Viking Stavanger, Valarenga and Molde (Norway); and one club from the Republic of Ireland.

Those who finish 19th and 20th would contest two-legged play-offs with national champions from their own country, and the winners would secure places in the Atlantic League for the following season.

What do the Scottish Professional Football League clubs think? Celtic have dropped out. Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibs were open to the concept but would have had to be convinced that the money was there. Hearts have not been formally consulted.

What would it mean for the SPFL itself? It would lose its five biggest clubs from the top flight but they would remain as Scottish Football Association and SPFL members and each of them could be relegated back to the Premiership in a bad season. Finishing in the top Premiership places would no longer have the rewards of Champions League or Europa League places, but play-offs to get into the Atlantic League.

Why would the other 37 clubs vote for it? The promise is significant solidarity payments from the Atlantic League and the possibility that any team could be promoted to it on merit via the play-offs.

What are its prospects? With Scottish involvement? Slim. Celtic’s decision to pull out was a significant blow and, if the project goes ahead at all, it is likely to involve only Scandinavian and Irish representatives.

Words by Michael Grant

 

 

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Clearly they are more interested in spunking themselves about the possibility of the super European league with Man United and Liverpool, rather than Norrkoping and Esbjerg, and wouldn't want to put their star invite at risk. 

 

It's a shame that Man United and Liverpool will feel the same way about playing them, and hold them in the same "Diddy team" regard. 

Edited by tian447
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kingantti1874
2 minutes ago, indianajones said:

Hearts would rightfully refuse. 

 

Sounds terrible. 


hearts are a business like any other.. if we had an opportunity to play in a league with 10times the revenue we’d would play in it.

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25 minutes ago, kingantti1874 said:


hearts are a business like any other.. if we had an opportunity to play in a league with 10times the revenue we’d would play in it.

 

Would run dry fairly quick you would think?

 

We really gonna be up for flying on fairly expensive Widerøe flights to Stavanger to drink £12 pints for an away game?

 

I dont disagree with wanting the SPFL to rot though.

 

 

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TBF it would've been a bit plus ca change... for the OF, just that all the foreign clubs would be similar sizes to Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs.

 

Celtic would want Dutch and Portuguese involvment

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2 minutes ago, S Form said:

A British league? Dermot Desmond is clearly delusional if he thinks that’s ever going to happen.

I still think the OF should just form their own 2-club league - derbies every week and as much bigotry as the fans can handle...

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3 minutes ago, Spellczech said:

I still think the OF should just form their own 2-club league - derbies every week and as much bigotry as the fans can handle...

Yeah, but they’re playground bullies too. Wouldn’t be as much fun for them if they didn’t have 40 other clubs to piss all over.

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It wouldn't be my choice but I if a league of this nature was to become a reality then I think it would need to be a clean break from the national associations as the promotion and relegation format is very clumsy. The suggestion here if I am reading it correctly is you could only be promoted to the Atlantic league if a club from your nation finishes in the bottom two. So you could win the league in any other year and not be promoted, that would devalue the national leagues even further than just losing the biggest clubs to start with. Also if you lose those clubs, the loss of support and sponsorship for those that remain you would imagine would make it almost impossible for a team to be in a position to compete should they ever get promoted. Unless the domestic leagues were to get a slice of the pie but I suspect the opposite is the main objective. 

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jamboinglasgow
17 minutes ago, S Form said:

A British league? Dermot Desmond is clearly delusional if he thinks that’s ever going to happen.

 

Celtic have been convinced for years this will happen without any real evidence. They are desperate for it. I am convinced its why they dont really put effort into growing Scottish football (such as a bigger tv deal) as they think they are only here temporarily 

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Just now, Ominous said:

Atlantic leagues or British leagues will never happen,but a British cup competition could be possible if the countries ditch their league cups.

I think the opportunity for that has passed. The Texaco Cup was the closest thing to it, now the Challenge Cup is the level at which clubs are interested. A league 2 side in England would still probably make more money by losing to Liverpool reserves than by playing an SPL side unfortunately. 

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10 minutes ago, Anything2 said:

I think the opportunity for that has passed. The Texaco Cup was the closest thing to it, now the Challenge Cup is the level at which clubs are interested. A league 2 side in England would still probably make more money by losing to Liverpool reserves than by playing an SPL side unfortunately. 

Yeah you are spot on with that. Money talks.

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Introduce promotion and relegation to national leagues and I'd consider it.

 

The moment that teams start plonking themselves into leagues purely because they think they're 'worth it' is the moment that proper football dies.

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4 minutes ago, Ominous said:

Yeah you are spot on with that. Money talks.

What I do find interesting about these breakaway leagues is that the concept never seems to go away. Part of it is obviously money driven but I think the other thing is that the UCL and even the Europa League for some teams has become unattainable. I mean it was always a pipe dream for most clubs but it felt more real in the old days. Imagine us taking a one goal lead over to Bayern now? They smash 7 or 8 past other UCL teams. 

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12 minutes ago, Anything2 said:

What I do find interesting about these breakaway leagues is that the concept never seems to go away. Part of it is obviously money driven but I think the other thing is that the UCL and even the Europa League for some teams has become unattainable. I mean it was always a pipe dream for most clubs but it felt more real in the old days. Imagine us taking a one goal lead over to Bayern now? They smash 7 or 8 past other UCL teams. 

What a night that was now I can't get the thought of Birkikara out my head. The UCL is the tournament for the rich and uefa want to keep it like that. The thing that boils my p#!s is when teams get pumped out the UCL they drop in to the Europa league for another chance to make money.

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13 minutes ago, Ominous said:

What a night that was now I can't get the thought of Birkikara out my head. The UCL is the tournament for the rich and uefa want to keep it like that. The thing that boils my p#!s is when teams get pumped out the UCL they drop in to the Europa league for another chance to make money.

Absolutely, which squeezes more teams out of the Europa League. Especially annoying when we would be right up for a Europa league game, biggest game of the season whereas you have now been replaced by Arsenal's reserve side as they can't be doing with it. 

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ToadKiller Dog

The 900m is a projection rather than hard figure no guarantee that it would be raised .

Also surley hibs would be terrified of playing the likes of Malmo

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Kidd’s Boots

Personally having quite a bit of time there with work, a midweek European game in Malmó has more appeal than a Betfred Cup game in Methil. The media rights for this could be quite lucrative if its packaged correctly. TV audience numbers for Ice Hockey over there for comparatively small populations are big, and so are the tv deals for the clubs. If we take the OF out of the deal to let them pursue other options would be the icing on the cake for me.

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ToadKiller Dog

I wonder if the 4 clubs involved in talks (given we havnt been involved ) actually were open to the rest of scottish football or kept it secret .

If I was a dundee club (how would the US owners see this ) or a motherwell owner I would be angry and worried .

 

One thing is sure super leagues for the giant clubs are likely coming sometime soon and it will kill off or shrink many clubs .

Hearts will need to be ready for this change when it happens. 

 

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kingantti1874

It may not be this specific project but something going to happen. Football is becoming a global game and there is absolutely no way the structure of the leagues will be the same in 20 years as it is now.
 

There will be a super league of sorts and it will cause a ripple with teams trying to find their place in the new order.

 

I suggest folk get on board with the prospect becuase it will be a case evolve and grow or get left behind and die. 
 

Edited by kingantti1874
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Would love it to happen personally. Spent lot of time in Scandinavia and would love an excuse to go back. Most ties would have a European night feel to it too. 

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part_time_jambo

If Celtic aren't interested, then fine. They can stay in the Scottish League and Dundee United (or whoever is next in the table at the time) can take their place) Celtic are winning the league every year anyway, so having even less competition shouldn't bother them. They can go for 20 in a row.

If I were a Dundee United fan I wouldn't be happy that Hearts are the 5th team from Scotland. They are fifth in the Premiership and we are in a lower league. Love it.

Doesn't look an attractive proposition to be honest though.

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The Atlantic League could be really interesting if it was set up as an alternative to the Champions League/Uefa cup only.

 

I wouldn't like to see clubs leave the league setup as it would devalue them.

I do think we need to have a blue sky thinking plan on how to drive up standards in Scotland - starting with improving finances/standard of clubs below the Championship (f/t clubs only being part of the professional leagues and clubs requiring to pay a core set of players a set minimum wage to allow this). Maybe the Atlantic league money could allow this.

 

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, kingantti1874 said:

It may not be this specific project but something going to happen. Football is becoming a global game and there is absolutely no way the structure of the leagues will be the same in 20 years as it is now.
 

There will be a super league of sorts and it will cause a ripple with teams trying to find their place in the new order.

 

I suggest folk get on board with the prospect becuase it will be a case evolve and grow or get left behind and die. 
 

I suspect it is heavily influenced by attempts to replicate the success of US sports. What fans of those sports should ask themselves is whether they want to engage with football in the same way as they do with say the NFL? You might follow the New York Giants because you enjoyed your holiday there but do you want to follow the Scottish Bravehearts or the London Bulldogs playing in a global league or do you want to travel around Scotland every week to watch Hearts? Unfortunately (or not depending on your view) traditional football fans will likely continue to be pushed out of the game in favour of a 'bigger and better' commercial product. Hopefully it's not during my lifetime though. 

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Such proposals must really mess with the heads of celtic and their fans.  Play in an Atlantic league which includes a genuinely Irish side ??  Which team would they follow ??

And then the prefered alternative is to be part of a British League !!  A BRITISH League ?!  So now they want to be part of Britain... ?!  Their poor wee brains must be fried with the options, all of which go against their supposed beliefs.

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2 hours ago, Kidd’s Boots said:

Personally having quite a bit of time there with work, a midweek European game in Malmó has more appeal than a Betfred Cup game in Methil. The media rights for this could be quite lucrative if its packaged correctly. TV audience numbers for Ice Hockey over there for comparatively small populations are big, and so are the tv deals for the clubs. If we take the OF out of the deal to let them pursue other options would be the icing on the cake for me.

 

Take the OF out of it and the tv deal shrinks immediately.

 

And not many could afford a midweek trip to Malmo (although it does sound a tad more attractive than Methil)

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Not sure the opposition appeals to me although Scandi clubs have good, passionate, fans.

 

Perhaps an idea is to regionalise the Europa League until the later rounds so that the likes of us are not having to travel to Turkmenistan on a Thursday?

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Hagar the Horrible

Its a totally horrendous idea,  we should go for it, and its even better that Celtic have dropped out, if it works other leagues will want to be a part,  Just replace celtic with Partick.  Lets see what TV deal Lawell gets for his 20 IAR season,?

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When this was first proposed years ago it involved the dutch and possibly the Belgians as well. That would be more appealing but still not something I’d want. 

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You can be sure if Rangers said yes Celtic would be along 20 minutes later. Celtic without Rangers completely devalues their brand and vice versa 

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4 hours ago, Spellczech said:

I still think the OF should just form their own 2-club league - derbies every week and as much bigotry as the fans can handle...

 

For many years, I've been strongly in favour of a (mid)Atlantic League for those two.

 

Things Happening in the Atlantic Ocean – THE TALON

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Kidd’s Boots
1 hour ago, Nookie Bear said:

 

Take the OF out of it and the tv deal shrinks immediately.

 

And not many could afford a midweek trip to Malmo (although it does sound a tad more attractive than Methil)

The OF influence on the tv deal would potentially only affect the Scottish media takeup, and nowhere else. Denmark and Norway both have population similar to Scotland and Sweden more than double ours so total viewing audience in those 3 nations far outstrips any loss. 

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Midweek games against some Norwegian team? The away supports would be nonexistent once the initial novelty wore off.

On the plus side, would almost certainly require a change to summer football 

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SomethingAboutObua

Doubt this would happen anyway but why must Celtic be involved for it to go ahead? Surely for teams like us/Aberdeen/Hibs it's still worth playing against foreign teams that get 10k plus in home fans every other week vs visiting the 2k-4k at Hamilton and St Mirren and the like? 

 

As many have said though, the OF would be far more interested in playing the big 3s of Portugal, Netherlands and Belgium than the big 1s of Norway, Denmark and Ireland. 

 

TBH I'd still love it if us Hibs and Aberdeen jumped ship to a northern league. 

 

Us 3 and maybe another or an Irish team, 5 from Denmark, 5 Sweden, 3 Norway, 1 Finland. Media market of closer to 40million than the 5 we have now.

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5 hours ago, jamboinglasgow said:

 

Celtic have been convinced for years this will happen without any real evidence. They are desperate for it. I am convinced its why they dont really put effort into growing Scottish football (such as a bigger tv deal) as they think they are only here temporarily 

 

How ironic, the ultimate plastic paddies hankering for a British league.  😏

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AlphonseCapone

Would be better calling it the North Sea league 😂

 

The only reason it sounds vaguely appealing is the novelty factor, which would quickly wear off, and the fact I hate Scottish club football just now. 

 

But it would become a rich man's game or folk could only make 1 or 2 away games outside the Scottish ones at best per year. 

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2 hours ago, Nookie Bear said:

 

Take the OF out of it and the tv deal shrinks immediately.

 

And not many could afford a midweek trip to Malmo (although it does sound a tad more attractive than Methil)

 

And like it or not, match day attendance figures will plummet too. This myth that fans will flock to a league without them is exactly that - a myth.

 

If something is cooking, Hearts need to be keeping tabs on it.

I've always fancied a British Cup tourney with the cheeks, Hearts, Hubs, Sheep, Motherwell at least all taking part along with the top teams in England.

It could replace the faltering league cups from both Scotland and Englandi

If it proved a winner with fans and TV then, who knows, perhaps enough clubs would see some mileage in a UK league longer term?

Maybe the likelihood that Covid will have the potential to weed out the poorer clubs will be the catalyst for a need for change on both sides of the border.

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I'm not bothered about its failing at all but Desmond has ideas way above his station. Celtic are a Europa league club, not Champions League. His regularly touted epl dreams turned out to be baloney and so will any invite to the top table of European football. 

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Waste of time wether we like it or not thanks to the biggest clubs we are heading for European Leagues and then regional ( countries ) below that.

Edited by vegas-voss
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The Atlantic League idea was pish 20 years ago and it's even more pish now. 20 years ago it at least had a couple of decent teams mentioned like Ajax, Benfica and Porto.

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A lot of these games would be easier and cheaper to get to than some think, particularly the Danish games, once the world gets back to normal. Copenhagen can be reached sometimes cheaper than a return fare to Inverness or Aberdeen, and the ground is easy enough to get to from the airport. Aarhaus for me would be almost a home match, flights over to Billund, drive over to the In-Laws, then 20min train ride upto Aarhaus (tidy wee city). Norway could be a right see you next tuesday but the local scenery would more than make up for it 😜

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It’s like Celtic Lego ,.......we build a few things here and there...och , well that’s no working oot  to well , let’s try another......end result = English premier league ......... those nice chaps south of the border may well be helping ,but en route , I’m pretty sure they are pissing themselves at each proposal

go back to Ireland if y’all want a new country 👍

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