FIFA en­ter fray as Dundee and Celtic tar­get State­side tie

The Herald - Sport - - FRONT PAGE - DEREK MILLER

FIFA has warned Dundee and Celtic it might make the fi­nal de­ci­sion on their plans to host a Lad­brokes Premier­ship match in the United States.

Dundee’s Amer­i­can own­ers Tim Keyes and John Nelms have raised the pos­si­bil­ity of tak­ing the Scot­tish cham­pi­ons State­side.

Early talks with their Celtic coun­ter­parts have taken place, with both clubs keen to ex­ploit the Park­head side’s large sup­port in the States by stag­ing a match in ei­ther Bos­ton or Philadel­phia.

An of­fi­cial re­quest has not yet been lodged, but the Scot­tish Pro­fes­sional Foot­ball League was quick to warn that it would have to give the green light for any game to be played over­seas. And now FIFA has also con­firmed it could yet step in to rule on the plans.

In a state­ment given to Press As­so­ci­a­tion Sport, the world game’s gov­ern­ing body said: “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. 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 re­ferred to.”

Dundee con­firmed talks had taken place with Celtic but ad­mit­ted their plans were still to be fleshed out. But UEFA also warned both clubs they would face hur­dles be­fore they could start plan­ning to cross the At­lantic.

A UEFA spokesper­son said: “First and fore­most this is a mat­ter for the na­tional as­so­ci­a­tions con­cerned and for FIFA.

But it must be re­mem­bered that the frame­work of the game world­wide is based on as­so­ci­a­tion foot­ball and the rules and bound­aries which ap­ply. As a re­sult, clubs can­not sim­ply choose which coun­try they want to play in. There are rules in place and pro­ce­dures which need to be re­spected.”

How­ever, the plan has been backed by Celtic fans in Amer­ica.

John Joe Devlin, chair­man of the Philadel­phia Celtic Supporters Club, wel­comed the pro­posal. “If the NFL can take games to Lon­don I don’t see why the SPFL can’t al­low a game to take place in the States,” he said.

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