In response to coverage and discussion of the Celtic Trust Share Proposal to the PLC Board to offer fans shares in place of a season ticket refund, the Trust is publishing a set of frequently asked questions to accompany the proposal.
What is our share proposal?
The share proposal, put forward by the Celtic Trust, asks Celtic PLC to offer fans the option of ordinary shares as compensation for missed matches from this year’s season ticket.
Do the updated Season Ticket Terms and Conditions mean that we are not entitled to a refund?
Celtic PLC changed the T&Cs this year to limit their legal liability. However, we believe our club has a moral duty to ensure that supporters receive the full value of their season ticket.
Celtic met with supporters’ groups including The Celtic Trust last summer and pledged to maintain the value of the season ticket. Our share proposal is a zero-cost way for the club to fulfil this promise to supporters.
What gives the Celtic Trust the mandate to ask for this?
The Trust has worked with Celtic for over 20 years on a number of fan initiatives such as the creation of the safe standing section. Similar to much of our previous work, we have worked alongside other supporters’ organisations to develop the share proposal.
Whilst we do not claim to speak on behalf of the entire support, we do speak for our members and it is our belief that all fans would benefit from this proposal. It is important that the club are held to their earlier promise to supporters.
Do the Celtic Trust just want to build up their own shares?
We make no secret of our desire to build shares and for Celtic to be owned by the supporters. However, shares received as part of the proposal would be owned individually by each season ticket holder, who could choose to do what they wished with them.
There would be no requirement or expectation for fans to join The Celtic Trust if they receive shares.
How many shares would supporters receive?
Ideally, the shares issued would equate to the value lost from prices paid for season tickets as a result of not being able to attend games. However, that would be up for further discussion with the Celtic PLC Board once the proposal is accepted in principle.
What is certain is that the proposal would create a welcome new generation of young supporter-shareholders and would lay the foundations for a positive 2021/22 season ticket renewal campaign.
Can we get a cash refund instead?
We understand that some fans may prefer a refund, particularly given the precarious financial circumstances due to the pandemic. However, we also recognise that these circumstances make it extremely unlikely that the club will provide cash refunds.
We would like to keep money in the club so that our squad can be rebuilt to reclaim the title next season. That said, for those who do require their money back, the Trust will endeavour to purchase as many of these shares from fans as we can afford.
Would this Share Proposal dilute the current shares?
This proposal would result in a very slight dilution of ordinary shares. However, the impact of this will be felt primarily by the extremely wealthy who own a large percentage of our club.
Meanwhile, an increase in fan-owned shares would mean that ordinary supporters can join a larger bloc of like-minded season ticket holders and have more of a say in how the club is run.
What value of shares is the Trust proposing for each season ticket holder?
The Celtic Trust is proposing that season ticket holders are reimbursed with a share value equivalent to what they have lost through last season’s non-attendance of matches.
For example, we feel that fans who paid £550 for a season ticket and received £90 in value for their stream subscription (which is the cost for fans from abroad buying the same service from Celtic TV) should be due £460 worth of ordinary shares.
What are ordinary shares?
Ordinary shares are shares which allow you to cast a vote at the AGM and Board appointments.
There would be no dividend attached to these shares.
Will this cost the club money?
No, this will not cost the club anything over and above a small amount of administrative costs.
The Share Proposal would be a way to ensure that fans could be repaid for their loyalty whilst ensuring the club is in as strong a financial position as possible to rebuild and reclaim the title next season.
What have other clubs done about this situation?
Clubs across Europe (in particular clubs of our stature) have taken different approaches but all have sought to ensure that their fans don’t lose out due to being unable to attend matches.
To avoid such a situation – most, if not all, clubs of our scale have opted to either not sell season tickets or offered fans pro-rata refunds and discounts due to the unprecedented and unforeseen effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Trust’s share proposal would ensure that we’re not seen by our fans as ‘a club like no other’ for the wrong reasons.
Why should I support this proposal?
The proposal would increase and amplify the collective voice of our club’s greatest asset – ourselves, supporters of Celtic.
It repays fans for their loyalty during an unprecedented period, whilst ensuring the club does not suffer financially in a way that would be detrimental to our progress on the pitch.
Furthermore, it creates a positive atmosphere and platform upon which to maximise sale of season tickets for the 2021-22 season.
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