Published on Wednesday 9th April, 2014 by Celtic Trust
Report of the 4th Open Meeting of Celtic Supporters
2nd April 2014 Celtic Club London Road
Those who had previously chaired the meetings were not present due to bereavement and illness and in their absence the meeting was chaired by Joe di Paola Chairperson of the Celtic Trust.
Joe began the meeting by reminding all present that although the original idea for convening these meetings had come from the Trust and Trust personnel had been involved in chairing and reporting proceedings this was a meeting open to all Celtic supporters and any outcomes would not belong to the them and not to one organisation.
The recommendations which had arisen from the previous meeting of 4th March were reviewed. Most of these were recommendation for action by FAC but as this umbrella group had not met since that date there was no update to report on these.
Two main topics were raised and widely discussed:
· stewarding at matches
· The continued need to oppose the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.
Many of those present voiced their concerns regarding the continued aggressive and heavy handed stewarding at matches in Celtic Park. It appears that since the closing of Section 111 and the banning of the Green Brigade the heavy stewarding presence endured by that section has now moved to other parts of the stadium. Despite the written assurances from Celtic that all stewards wear jackets displaying an identification number this is simply not the case.
In order to make any kind of complaint we are told that the person who is the subject of the complaint has to have been identified. Yet several people recounted how when they asked stewards to identify themselves the response they received was negative and on some occasions they were subjected to foul and abusive language.
This had resulted in complaints having to be made using only descriptions e.g. the physical appearance of the steward involved but these had largely been ignored or certainly not acted upon.
The way in which Celtic relates to its supporters was again raised especially the custom of highlighting any negative aspect while ignoring or downplaying the many positive things involving supporters. The functioning of Celtic’s PR Dept. was strongly criticised as being at best ineffectual and at worst misleading and discriminatory in response. The Club on many occasions makes the assertion that ‘the vast majority of Celtic supporters think……….’ but the basis for this assertion was questioned usually because the Club has never sought and therefore could not know the opinion of its supporters on the subject under discussion.
It was agreed that once again the Club would be asked to ensure that all stewards are easily identified so that anyone who had cause to complain would be able to clearly identify the subject of the complaint.
The discussion then moved on to the continued opposition to the OBF Act.
The statement by Celtic publically opposing the Act was again welcomed and again a recommendation was made that ways should be sought for joint action by the Club and supporters.
At the first Open Meeting a suggestion had been made to lobby the SNP Conference as only this party had voted in favour of the Act and had used its parliamentary majority to force the legislation through the Scottish Parliament. There had been no further action on this but despite the very short timescale it was decided to try and have some sort of presence at the SNP Conference which is due to be held in Aberdeen on 11th and 12th April. Several of those present indicated that they would be willing to travel to Aberdeen on the Saturday as there is no Celtic fixture on that day. It was also suggested that Celtic Supporters’ Clubs in the area of Aberdeen be contacted to see if they could provide a presence and support.
Mention was made of the Supporters Liaison Officer who had been appointed a year ago and how effective this appointment had or had not been. The feeling was that the Club had only made the appointment to comply with UEFA requirements and that whilst the person appointed was trying to do the best job he could under the circumstances he was not being given the freedom nor the resources to carry out the duties required by UEFA, and laid out in their handbook, in an effective manner.
The Celtic Trust had discussed this matter at its recent AGM and intended raising it with the Club. Any updates will be reported back to the next Open Meeting.
The time to renew season tickets is approaching and it was felt that this was the opportunity to apply maximum pressure on the Club to respond to supporters’ concerns so it was proposed to have the next meeting within the renewal period.
Date of next meeting: Wednesday 14th May 2014 Celtic Club London Road.
Login to post a comment