Published on Monday 26th May, 2014 by Celtic Trust
Report of the 5th Open Meeting of Celtic Supporters
The meeting was chaired by Jeanette Findlay
As at previous meetings it was again emphasised that although original idea to hold these meetings has come from the Celtic Trust and members of the Trust had been active in convening and recording proceedings the meetings were open to all Celtic supporters all contributions were welcomed and valued
How stewarding is conducted in certain areas of Celtic Park remains a great concern for many supporters and several incidents of aggressive and inappropriate behaviour by stewards were raised and discussed. There was also a full report given of a meeting which two Trust officers had with Ronnie Hawthorn, Head of Safety, Security and Operations at Celtic Park.
We reported two other Protectevent Supervisors on behalf of a member of the Trust, both will be interviewed as it’s linked to the incident involving the aforementioned steward and this will be followed up by the SLO.
He agreed that since the beginning of the year there have been flashpoints at every home match in three areas of the stadium, SW corner area 122 Lisbon Lions lower 110/111/ and LL Lower 117/118.We discussed the location of the” family section” and asked if he would consider moving it to another area stadium as a result of the behaviour of away fans and the stewarding issues when the GB have bought tickets for this area, in light of the fact that we may introduce a safe standing area his would be an ideal time to have a complete rethink of location and an opportunity to ensure a period of consultation with fans takes place.
We discussed at length the recruitment /selection policy, roles / responsibilities, the need for sub-contractors i.e. G4S / Securigroup.
The club has employed a Safeguarding Officer who will train stewards in relation to children and vulnerable adults.
A group of Aberdeen fans had been in touch to report that they had been prevented from bringing a banner bearing the words Oglivie Out into Celtic Park for the match on 3rd May 2014. They had had no difficulty in displaying this banner at many other grounds and indeed had displayed it without problems within Celtic Park during the Scottish Cup game earlier in the year and
Mr Hawthorn said that maybe the Ogilvie Out banner didn’t get into the stadium as it may have got “the club into trouble with the SFA”. We had a frank discussion on why if it were the case then it is totally unacceptable that the match day Safety Officer i.e. Ronnie Hawthorn, or one of his deputies should have the authority to make such ill-informed decisions and show such a lack a basic understanding of the SFA rules and regulations .This matter will be taken up with the SLO
There are further initiatives which will be announced in June.
During the discussion which ensued the following points emerged and are being brought to the attention of all supporters.
Among other matters discussed was the role of the SLO (the post, not the person) the Standing Area (which may be opened around the time of the Opening Ceremony of the CG) and the question of where the family section is situated.
Offensive Behaviour at Football Act
A report of the protest against the Act which took place in Aberdeen at the SNP National Conference was given and this has been fully documented elsewhere. Complaints have been lodged with Police Scotland regarding the over-reaction and harassment experienced by the 19 people (including senior citizens and young children) who were in Aberdeen that day.
Report from FAC
FAC has now met again and the following initiatives were reported
There was some discussion on what further steps can be taken to keep up the pressure for a review and hopefully subsequent repeal of this discriminatory law.
The Club’s refusal to pay a Living Wage to all its employees caused outrage amongst a large number of supporters and resulted in great embarrassment for the Board at the Plc AGM.
The Trust will again raise this in a resolution to the 2014 AGM but in the meantime a campaign to highlight this issue was discussed. It was felt that this is something in which all Celtic supporters, not just shareholders, could be involved. There was a full discussion as to how this could be done and a number of potentially productive suggestions were made. The Trust will discuss these and, if agreed, will publicise them in due course.
It was noted that the Celtic Trust resolutions for the 2014 Celtic PLC AGM will be circulated soon and shareholders are asked to support them in terms of getting them on the agenda and also voting for them when the time comes. The long-standing problem of only around 2000 out of 290000 shareholders ever voting at all was mentioned and everyone was asked to speak to friends and family about this where they can.
Date of Next meeting
As the season has now ended it was decided not to set a date but to reconvene at a suitable time in the new season if required.
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