Report of Open Meeting 14th May 2014

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

Stewarding

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.

  • He had stated that Celtic intend to provide further training for all stewards with the emphasis being on customer care.
  •  The Club will also undertake to ensure that every steward has a hi-viz jacket or bib with an identification number clearly displayed front and back.
  • Each jacket used will have a name recorded against it even if the same steward does not wear the same jacket each week
  • He also said that the Supporter Liaison Officer and various Heads of Dept, are working together to ensure that the match day experience for all supporters is enjoyable and free from harassment.
  • They intend to put in place a complaints procedure through which supporters will be able to report actions by stewards which are unacceptable and he gave an assurance that any such complaint would be investigated and appropriate action taken.
  • A  Protectevent  steward is suspended and currently under investigation following events which took place  at Celtic v Aberdeen match

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.

  • If a fan is involved in or witnesses aggressive or other inappropriate behaviour by a steward he/she should record the identity of the steward either by taking the number or taking a photographic record as clear identification is vital for any report and subsequent investigation.
  • If the matter can be speedily resolved by reference to a steward supervisor then this should be done.
  • If this is not the case, or if it is a serious matter, the complaint should be made to the Club and not to a steward supervisor as experience has shown that these complaints are frequently not recorded or passed on.
  • Many supporters who have made complaints in writing have copied these to the Trust at celtictrust@hotmail.com  and the Trust is happy to offer this facility to all supporters. This will assist in monitoring how the Club deals with such situations.

 

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

  • A new FAC website is being designed and will be up and running soon
  • The Roll of Honour download campaign was very successful and has made a substantial contribution to FAC funds.
  • A fund raising social event has been planned for 12th July in the Celtic Club.
  • An event to highlight the discriminatory nature of this Act is being planned to take place during  the Edinburgh Festival
  • Following the statement issued by Celtic condemning the Act a meeting with Celtic officials is being arranged to explore ways in which supporters and Club can jointly oppose this legislation.

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.

Living Wage

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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