Strict UK laws are preventing US cash influx for Scottish football says Dundee chief Keyes

Dundee co-owner Tim Keyes wants to see business laws made easier.

Scottish football has potential, according to Dundee money man Tim Keyes.

But prohibitive UK laws are preventing a potential influx of millions of pounds into the game.

Dundee co-owner Keyes, who this week returned to the US after a 10-day trip to the City of Discovery, believes the ability to allow US nationals from the MLS to play in the Scottish Premiership could be an untapped resource for the game.

He reckons if American players were able to freely ply their trade in the UK, particularly Scotland, the audience across the Pond would increase.

That, according to Keyes, has the potential to see any further TV deals in the growing US market skyrocket.

“If the visa rules were changed we could do a whole lot more here in Scotland,” said the head of Keyes capital, who own a controlling stake in the Dark Blues.

“If they were able to play in Scotland we would look to bring lots of American players over, as we have an in-depth knowledge of the game in the States.

“An influx of American players to the Scottish game could potentially increase the fanbase across the water. That kind of thing has the potential to grow revenue for Scotland but we just can’t do it.”

On potential revenue streams from the States, the Dundee shareholder and director continued: “It’s great because in the US we have at least one game from Scotland on Fox Soccer.

Unlocking prohibitive visa rules could unleash the potential to see American players ply their trade here in Scotland and the UK and be able to tap into the lucrative TV market in the States.
Unlocking prohibitive visa rules could unleash the potential to see American players ply their trade here in Scotland and the UK and be able to tap into the lucrative TV market in the States.

“It is growing, though. On the opening weekend of the season there were three of the fixtures shown live.

“This was definitely one of the selling points when we invested our money in the club.

“There is a market for Scottish football around the globe. You can see that with the TV deal in China.

“I’m hopeful things will continue to grow.

“It’s not just in the English Premier League where the TV deals are going through the roof.

“We have seen the NBA, NFL, etc, in the US increase their TV revenue by 78%. There’s been a major increase in the MLS, too.”

While there have been a number of high-profile additions to the game in America over recent years, Keyes does not see a massive difference between the game over there and over here.

Steven Gerrard, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, Kaka, Robbie Keane and David Villa all currently ply their trade in Major League Soccer.

Thanks to rules allowing up to three exemptions to the US salary cap on the game, these kind of deals, which have also seen David Beckham and Thierry Henry enjoy prolonged periods in the States, can be struck.

There’s nowhere near that kind of cash kicking about in Scottish club’s coffers but Keyes doesn’t think that has an affect on the product on the park. He added: “In terms of talent on the pitch, the MLS and the Scottish Premiership are on a par.

“If you take the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard out of the equation, then I would say the average wage of a regular US player in the division would not be too different to what Scottish clubs pay players over here.

“It’s the nature of the game in the US which allows those kind of big money, high-profile, headline grabbing deals to be done.

“It is totally different to how the game is conducted over here. To be honest, I don’t think that is a bad thing really. In Scotland we nurture our own talent without the need to throw cash at the game.

“In the US the game is still growing in terms of infrastructure.

“That kind of infrastructure has been long established in countries like England and Scotland.”

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