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Page last updated at 18:49 GMT, Thursday, 9 December 2010

Celtic to form ties with Mexican club Santos Laguna

Santos lost to Monterrey in the championship final
Santos lost in the Mexican championship final to Monterrey

Celtic say they are close to forming a partnership with Mexican Premier League club Santos Laguna.

Under the agreement, the clubs would hope to transfer knowledge on coaching, players, football academies and perhaps eventually swap first-team players.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said: "We have have an excellent relationship with Santos Laguna.

"And we hope to formalise this partnership early next year. Laguna is a great club, run by great people."

Celtic have already tapped into the Mexican market, signing international midfielder Efrain Juarez from Pumas de la UNAM this summer.

Torreon-based Santos, who like Celtic play in green and white hoops, formed in 1982 but have already become one of Mexico's largest clubs.

They have won their domestic championship three times, most recently in 2008, and finished runners-up to Monterrey in the championship that finished this month.

Like Celtic, Santos Laguna is much more than a football club

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell

"It is a club with a tremendous pedigree and one whose ethos is closely aligned to our own," Lawwell, who recently travelled to Mexico with other club representatives, told Celtic's website.

"Like Celtic, Santos Laguna is much more than a football club, an organisation with a very strong social and community dimension but also a very professional club with a desire for success.

"As we have already seen from our work in the USA, Japan, Korea, India and elsewhere, we have been very successful in promoting Celtic to a wider audience.

"Celtic is fortunate to have many millions of fans worldwide and already we have many new fans in Mexico.

"Clearly, this work has also assisted in the promotion of Scottish football and the Scottish Premier League and we are sure this new partnership in Mexico will again open up our game to a whole new and substantial audience."

The clubs intend to work together on areas like coaching, sports science, player development, technical analysis, the development of soccer schools and community academies for kids.

"In time, there may also be the potential transfer of first-team players through this exciting new partnership," say Celtic.

Santos president Alejandro Irarragorri added: "We will be working on specific agreements, divided into sports, business and commercial areas.

"As we look to the future, we hope to be able to share strength's between our great clubs so both parties can benefit."

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see also
Vela and Juarez banned by Mexico
22 Sep 10 |  Football
Juarez relishes Celtic challenge
20 Jul 10 |  Celtic

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