Plans drafted for Old Firm games to be played abroad


The Old Firm derby between Celtic and Rangers could be played overseas in future, with plans being drawn up to export Scotland's most famous fixture.

Relevent Sports chairman Charlie Stillitano, who is also behind the upcoming pre-season International Champions Cup (ICC) match between English and Scottish champions Leicester City and Celtic, plans to take the Old Firm to North America or Asia.

Stillitano insists Celtic and Rangers should play games away from Scotland in order to reach a wider audience, with the Old Firm rivalry to be renewed next season after Rangers' promotion back to the Scottish Premiership.

"There needs to be a rebalance," Stillitano said. "There needs to be recognition for the great clubs like Celtic and Rangers who have this incredible worldwide fan base.

"You don't want it to wither on the vine here. There's only five million people in Scotland. You're not going to have 50 million any time soon.

"There's millions of Celtic and Rangers fans across the world and there has to be some recognition of that. These are the types of events we should do before this rivalry dies or becomes so local people don't understand the beauty of Celtic-Rangers."

Stillitano believes Celtic could play Rangers at Wembley, with Asia and North America the other markets he is targeting for the fixture.

"We did Manchester United-Liverpool in Miami," said Stillitano. "Great game and there was no trouble. There was a lot of fun ribbing and that was it.

"We are also doing the Manchester derby in Beijing. Why not export Celtic-Rangers? It makes perfect sense for me. I'd like to do it every year, or at least every couple of years.

"It's completely safe in North America but I also think that it could be managed at a place like Wembley."

Stillitano also wants to make the ICC - which has been dubbed the Battle of Britain even though it also features European champions such as Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich - into an annual event between the winners of the Premier League and the Scottish Premiership.

The Relevent Sports chairman revealed that a trophy has already been ordered, but accepted there could be scheduling issues with the qualifying rounds for the Champions League.

"We are going to have a trophy made by Thomas Lyte," Stillitano said. "We are going to commission that it goes back and forth between the Scottish and English champions, whoever wins it. It's something we would like to create.

"But one of the problems we have is Celtic having the three rounds of Champions League qualifiers so it's hard to say it would be part of the ICC every year. But we are committed to having a trophy every year and it just so happens we've included it within the ICC, which is nice.

"Anything you can do to make it special. Maybe it can be done on its own, perhaps like the Charity Shield in England."