A first for the Celtic Trust

Published on Thursday 17th November, 2016 by

Today at the AGM of Celtic Plc a resolution formally setting up a Supporters' Forum was passed by 99.95% of those who voted.

This is the first time that a resolution proposed by any group of shareholders, outwith the Board, has been supported by the Board.

Below is the statement made by Joe di Paola, Chairperson of the Celtic Trust, when he proposed the resolution

This resolution is hugely important for Celtic Football Club and for us as Celtic supporters.

For the first time since the establishment of the PLC the Board has indicated support for a resolution from a group of shareholders in this case one organised by the Celtic Trust. As the mover of the resolution I want to record at the outset our satisfaction at this historic and progressive step forward for the support and the club.

Of course it is not the first time proposals from the Trust, voted down at the AGM have been subsequently acted upon by Celtic. The original idea to create a safe standing area at Celtic Park also came from a Trust Resolution. At every home game we can all see how successful that has been. It would also be remiss not to accept that some progress has been made in relation to the issue of the Living Wage for Celtic employees although there is still a way to go until we can proudly refer to our club as a living wage employer.

However this resolution takes the relationship and interaction of the support with Celtic to another level. The supporting statement makes it absolutely clear that what is being proposed is a formal Supporters Forum for the express purpose of ensuring that the club and us as supporters jointly that is jointly,as in together, as in at the same time,not as in after the event,meet at regular intervals at agreed times in the season to discuss issues of important to Celtic and Celtic supporters.

The business of the Forum will be conducted in an open and transparent manner which will also recognise the legal and other frameworks within which the Directors have to operate.

So why this Forum and why now?

In December 2015 the Scottish Government issued a consultation on supporter involvement and ownership of Scottish football clubs . Celtic and Celtic supporter organisations responded to the document. There was a shared view that a legislative answer to the issues raised was not in the interests of Celtic or its support especially given the disastrous discriminatory and downright disgrace that is the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.

So over the course of some weeks and months a dialogue took place between officers of Celtic and the Trust with ideas and suggestions from each seeking to find, a way, a Celtic way if you like, of dealing with the questions raised by the Scottish government consultation.

As often happens there were versions and revisions and discussions sometimes long and sometimes sharp but we finally agreed to the establishment of a consultative Forum as set out in the resolution and the supporting statement.

Of course much work still needs to be done to get the Forum up and running if the resolution is agreed by this AGM but the framework is set out for us. We know what we have to do. We all have rights and we all have obligations which we need to accept.

This is the right way to improve the connection between the club and the support. With our team playing so well on the park we must avoid giving those who do not wish us well the opportunity to create division. The Forum will provide a channel between the support and the club for discussion and explanation at meetings but as importantly also between meetings.

This will be the first Supporters' Forum in any senior football club. Once again, we at Celtic, lead the way in Scottish football.


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