Peter Lawwell, Celtic's chief executive, yesterday lent his full support to the proposed 12-12-18 restructuring of Scottish football and claimed his own club expected to make a bigger financial sacrifice than any other if it goes through.
Lawwell was the first high-profile figure from any club to come out in favour of the plans. Celtic stand to lose out because the additional money to be redistributed through the 42 clubs would be shaved from those at the top of the "Premier Division". The prize and television income of the team finishing top will be reduced by more than most, around £250,000-per-season.
"In order to get it done there is a change to the distribution," said Lawwell. "Some would deem that fairer, I would probably not because those who generate value should get the most. But it's a recognition – certainly from Celtic – that to get out of this gridlock we need to compromise in the central revenue to get things moving along.
Loading article content
"I think 12-12-18 is not perfect, we have huge challenges, but it's probably the best format available. The Sky deal is done, we're looking for a main sponsor. Where are the other revenue streams? Well, the main one is at the gates and if you have more meaningful games then you have more people turning up and that means more cash at the gate, more sponsorship interest and more TV interest."
Lawwell said the two leagues of 12, splitting into three divisions of eight after 22 games, was "not that complicated" and urged the football community to be supportive. He also stated that merging the SPL and SFL did not amount to an admission that the SPL had failed. But he admitted the new structure would do nothing to improve the chances of any team winning the title other than Celtic and Rangers.
"The predictability of the outcome of any competition kills it and that's what happened here. Celtic and Rangers have been the biggest strength because we have generated the value, but some may also argue the biggest weaknesses because it's destroyed competition. This won't change things in that respect. You need a more radical solution in order to change that."