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Philadelphia could host Dundee-Celtic Scottish Premier League game

Just over six months ago, news surfaced that Scottish soccer team Dundee was considering moving one of its home games against powerhouse Celtic to America. Now it looks like that move is going to happen, and it looks like the destination is Lincoln Financial Field.

A spokesman for the Eagles confirmed that the team is in talks with Dundee, Celtic and the various other parties involved. Dundee's Evening Telegraph newspaper said those talks are "85 percent complete," with agreements in place on booking the stadium, a date for the game and how to split revenue.

The move to take a league game out of its home country is a big change from the usual slate of European teams who come to America for summer exhibitions.

A few years ago, England's Premier League considered staging an extra round of official matches at venues in the United States and elsewhere. Not surprisingly, the proposal drew an enormous backlash from fans at home, and it was scrapped soon after it became public.

But that doesn't mean the powers that be don't want it to happen. And if the deal for Dundee-Celtic at the Linc gets done, you can be sure it will resonate far across Europe - especially if the game draws a big crowd.

Selling tickets will probably be the easy part. Celtic has a huge fan base within the Irish Catholic diaspora that's spread across North America. A league game at the Linc would draw not only Celtic supporters in Philadelphia, but from New York, Boston, Toronto and beyond.

Yes, this is my apology for underestimating the size of Celtic's North American fan base in an interview with the Evening Telegraph last year. I should have known better. However, I still don't like the idea of taking a home game away from a fan base.

(And what does it say that the NFL hasn't yet taken a home game away from marquee teams like the Packers, Bears, Steelers and the entire NFC East?)

The NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball have started to play regular season games abroad too in recent years But fans of participating teams haven't complained about those either, perhaps because there are so many games in those leagues' regular seasons.

Neutral-site games are a common occurrence in American college sports too, though they're usually planned as such in advance. Only in rare (albeit increasingly common) circumstances is a a true home game "taken away" to another site.

Dundee's desire to move a home game to America is surely a business decision. If a club of that scale is putting business ahead of principle, what does that say? Could it be that the authenticity of fans' passion is exploited for commercial gain across the Atlantic too?

You might think it's just an English Premier League thing. It's not. Germany's Bundesliga does it, though German fans have more of a say in how their clubs are run. And as I wrote a few days ago, clubs in Spain's La Liga want to launch satellite teams in America.

At least in this instance, Dundee fans seem to be on board with having one of their home games moved to a stadium some 3,300 miles away.

Dundee Supporters Society board member Alan McEwan told the Evening Telegraph that he thinks the idea is "a potentially tremendous initiative. He added that the club's American owners, Texas natives Tim Keyes and John Nelms, "own the club and they have the right to pursue business initiatives."