Former Celtic favourite Simon Donnelly thinks Sky Sports could lose interest in the Scottish game if the furore over allocations at Paradise and Ibrox continues.
Over the last few seasons, a tit-for-tat furore, started by Rangers, has become a main story in Scottish football. Rangers have offered just 700 seats for Celtic fans at Ibrox for the 3rd April clash, as has become a new norm. It used to be, of course, 7,000 Celtic fans at Ibrox.
Celtic have been forced to respond in kind, cutting the allocation of Rangers supporters at Celtic Park. However, Donnelly, a Celtic mainstay in 90s, believes it’s time to go back to how things were.
Or, there could be consequences for the whole Scottish Premiership.
Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show [25/3, 18:19], Donnelly said: “That might come to Sky further down the line… it’s not what they signed up for, with this fixture.
“I want to go to Ibrox and have the Celtic support behind that goal. The same at Celtic Park, with the Rangers fans. It brings that intensity to the fixture. It’s what I was used to playing in they fixtures, it brings something special to it.
“Why would you take that away?
“It’s nowhere near the same. It takes something away from it. Sky might turn round to [the Scottish Premiership] and say ‘well we’re not giving you x, y and z for this, because it’s not what we signed up for’.”
The Scottish Premiership are reliant on Sky Sports money; this situation between Celtic and Rangers could have a real impact
Obviously, it’s hypothetical.
But if you were a broadcaster, and saw one of your highlight fixtures being sullied by a childish ticket embargo by one of the teams, you might think twice.
Though the Sky Sports deal is a pittance compared to other leagues of Scotland’s size, it’s still a significant source of revenue for Scottish clubs. Without a broadcasting deal, let alone a decent one, the Scottish Premiership would be hugely adversely affected.
From Celtic to less well-off clubs, like Livingston or Rangers, the impact would be sizeable.
Should it be the main motivation for decisions by the SPFL or SFA? Probably not, but this is the reality. Sky Sports may well think twice about broadcasting it if the atmosphere isn’t the same. The atmosphere, after all, is the selling point.
What a shame that’d be, for the people who watch Celtic and Rangers square off around the world. It’s a significant issue.
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