Celtic's Dermot Desmond encouraged to rethink 'Atlantic League'

By Euan Davidson

December 12, 2020

Celtic have been urged to reconsider the prospect of an Atlantic League by Aberdeen chairman David Cormack.

In quotes reported by the Daily Record today, Cormack insisted that the idea was a money-spinner for not just Celtic, but all participants.

A potential Atlantic League would feature teams from Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Celtic would be amongst the Scottish clubs featured, as well as Rangers, Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibernian.


Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack / (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group via Getty Images)

Cormack’s plea

In what read as a desperate plea, Aberdeen chairman Cormack said:

“This was a serious proposal for Scandinavian teams, a team from Ireland and five teams from Scotland to form an Atlantic League.

“But the real opportunity was to bring in 300m or 400m Euros a year in broadcast media rights, which would be significant for every Scottish league all the way down.

“The SFA were aware of it. The SPFL were aware of it. And Celtic, Rangers and ourselves and Ron Gordon at Hibs were aware of it.

“UEFA got behind it, but it was really down to the individual leagues.”


Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond / (Photo by Sammy Turner/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Our view: no, thanks

It’s already an expensive endeavour to follow Celtic home and away. Factor in flights across to Scandinavia and the reality seems even bleaker for Bhoys’ wallets.

While the idea of a regular fixture against Irish opposition seems tantalising, the truth is that this idea is a non-starter and we would be amazed if it took off.

For a club like Aberdeen to think they’re beyond the Scottish Premiership is utter lunacy. In football, you need to have won a competition repeatedly in order to transcend it.

Sure; the Betfred Cup has been a source of unique fun for lower-league teams. However, the introduction of ‘foreign’ clubs to a cup tournament is much easier than a league. You’re talking weekly long-distance flights here.

Given the precarious circumstances of clubs in Scotland at the moment, this would be disastrous. We need to consider our impact beyond our own finances. Taking Celtic and Rangers out of the top flight would be awful news for clubs like St. Johnstone, Motherwell and – yes – Aberdeen, with regards to revenue.

That’s in terms of both match day attendance and TV rights.

Cormack may think he’s on to a winner with the Atlantic League. There’s every chance we’ll eat our words in 10 years’ time, as we board a flight to Stavanger for a league game.

We don’t praise Dermot Desmond, but fair play to him. This is a nonsensical idea that shouldn’t be entertained by Celtic.