Published on Thursday 21st March, 2013 by Celtic Trust
The Celtic Trust
Report of Meeting of Representatives of The Celtic Trust with Representatives of Celtic FC/PLC
Date of meeting: Tuesday 12th March
From Celtic, Peter Lawwell, Chief Executive; Michael Nicholson, Company Secretary
From the Trust, Joe Di Paola, Chairperson; Jeanette Findlay, Trustee, Marie McCusker, Secretary
The meeting opened with introductions as both the Chairperson of the Trust and the Company Secretary were attending their first meeting.
The first item on the agenda was the current attitude of the police towards the Celtic support and the incidences of police harassment to which our supporters have been subjected both at home and away matches. Specific examples of this were discussed and in the course of the discussion it emerged that Celtic does provide the personal details of supporters, which it holds on file, to the Police. The legality of this practice under data protection legislation was queried and PL undertook to have this checked although he was confident that this had already been done.
Since the meeting the Trust officers have now asked the plc to clarify what, if any, is the process for these disclosures; whether any records are kept and if people are informed that their details have been passed on; and whether the plc passes on details to the police automatically or whether they sometimes refuse. We are awaiting a response to these questions and to that of the issue of Data Protection but we did not want to delay further the report of the meeting to our members.
Discussion then moved to how the Club deals with supporters who are deemed to have been guilty of “unacceptable conduct” and to the issue of suspension of season ticket rights including those who have had “precautionary suspensions”. MMcC shared her knowledge of the experience of some supporters who had been unable to communicate with the Club and who had turned to the Trust for assistance. PL was very clear that supporters should not be experiencing these kinds of difficulties and was confident that the systems which the Club had in place should ensure responses to communications. He asked for details of cases to which MMcC referred and undertook to investigate these. The issue of the practice of ‘precautionary suspensions’ for alleged offences which are proved subsequently to be groundless was also discussed with no resolution. However the Trust has submitted to Celtic a draft of Disciplinary Code which if adopted should address this and other issues. PL said it would be considered by the committee set up by the Club in the wake of incidents of police harassment and to which two supporters’ organisations had agreed to send representatives. The Trust had had no prior knowledge of the establishment of this committee and had not been invited to participate.
PL also confirmed press/media reports that the Club were seeking powers to have banning orders served on supporters through civil proceedings in the Sheriff Court. CT reps pointed out that this is a weaker burden of proof compared to criminal cases and asked why the club did not leave this to the criminal courts. PL replied that it would be useful to be able to do this and agreed that one motivation for them was that civil proceedings in the Court of Session for such orders is very expensive. The Trust reps expressed their concerns about this development and said that they were at a loss to understand why the Club would seek these powers in their own right as, if banning orders are warranted then the courts have ample powers in this regard. There was no consensus reached.
The next discussion centred around season ticket prices and the value of these vis-à-vis buying tickets on a match by match basis. PL said that the prices for next season are still being considered and he was asked to consider reinstating concession prices for young supporters. He disputed JF’s point that in some sections of the ground it was cheaper to buy tickets on match by match basis than to invest in a season book but undertook to investigate this if she sent him details of those involved.
JF has subsequently done this and there is on-going dialogue on this issue.
The discussion then moved on to the issue of Safe Standing. PL stated that the Club were supportive of this initiative and had lodged an application with Glasgow City Council to convert an area of the Stadium for this purpose and were awaiting a response. He also indicated that the Safety Committee would have a major input into deciding whether or not this could go ahead.
Considerable time had been spent on the discussions reported above and both parties had other commitments but before the meeting terminated with the remaining agenda items being postponed to a subsequent meeting, JF reminded PL that that the last meeting she had asked Celtic to become involved in discussions regarding becoming part of The Living Wage initiative. If pursued Celtic could become the first football Club in Britain to become a Living Wage employer. Arrangements were made for the MN, the Company Secretary to meet with representatives of this initiative with a view to taking the matter forward.
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