Scottish Premiership football club Celtic is considering investing in an Australian A-League team with Central Coast Mariners said to be the main target, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, reports Sport Business.
The newspaper said that the Glasgow club is keen to explore business and investment opportunities in Australian football, having already forged ties with the Mariners through the 2013 acquisition of midfielder Tom Rogic.
The Herald said a Celtic delegation was in Australia earlier this month, when it visited the Mariners' new Centre of Excellence training centre and attended the club's 2-0 win over Sydney FC on November 10.
The Brisbane Roar is also understood to be under consideration, and while a club takeover was not said to have been discussed during the recent visit, Celtic is reported to have signaled its interest to other parties about investing in the A-League once a new operating model for the competition is finalised.
Commenting on the report, Mariners chairman Mike Charlesworth told the Herald: "I'm not surprised about their interest based on a new A-League operating model because I think it's got a lot of potential. Frankly, I haven't personally spoken to anyone at Celtic, that's been handled by (chief executive) Shaun (Mielekamp) and (chief financial officer) Kathy (Duncan)."
The Herald said Celtic will not make an official bid until December 1 at the earliest, once the future direction of Australian football is assured. The A-League could be set for a new operating model that will give clubs more independence and potentially an ownership stake in the competition.