Statement from Celtic Football Club

This statement has been sent to me  by the club in reply to the questions submitted on Sunday.

Following requests from the Celtic Trust and other individuals in relation to the provision of information, Celtic Football Club is pleased to outline the following position.

As a responsible football club and employer, Celtic owes a duty to its supporters, employees and the wider community to provide a safe environment in which people can support our team and visit our facilities. As we have said before, the safety and well-being of our supporters and colleagues is of paramount importance to the club.

Celtic is also the subject of very stringent controls by local authorities, Scottish football authorities and UEFA.

For these very important reasons of safety, security and the reputation of the Club and its supporters, we cannot and will not tolerate dangerous or illegal behaviour at Celtic Park, or wherever the team plays.

No Celtic supporter wishes to see instances of violence or behaviour that puts the safety of other individuals at risk.

The club has made this clear in its Social Mission Statement, Statement on Unacceptable

Conduct and Ground Regulations.

We invest in safety and security, with dedicated colleagues working hard with supporters and the authorities to ensure that matches pass safely and without incident.

Like many organisations, businesses and individuals, Celtic responds to specific inquiries from the authorities regarding the prevention or detection of crime. The club believes that is the right thing to do.

In a very limited number of cases, the club receives requests for information from the authorities for information that is required to prevent or detect crime, or to apprehend and prosecute those suspected of crime, in connection with attendance at football matches.

These requests relate to supporters arrested or detained in or near Celtic Park or other stadia, travelling to games, or involved in incidents connected with games. The information solely relates to season ticket or match ticket information held by the club.

It is important to understand that such requests are very unusual. This season, for example, the requests received represent a tiny proportion of the supporters who have attended Celtic matches.

In responding to these requests, we are no different from numerous football clubs and other businesses and organisations across the UK, who respond as a matter of practice.

The club will only release information when it is considered to be in the public interest to do so. The club is committed to ensuring that all such disclosures are fair and comply with all  legal obligations, including the Data Protection Act, which permits the club to provide personal information where it is necessary for the purposes of prevention or detection of crime and the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

All requests are dealt with by the Safety, Security and Operations team, who will ensure that information is provided only when the club determines it to be necessary and lawful. The club has refused, and will continue to refuse, to provide information where the team is not satisfied that it is necessary to do so.

We opposed the Offensive Behaviour at Football Bill and we continue to oppose the Act. We are committed to working with supporters who have concerns regarding policing around our matches.

We have set up a working group to establish a Supporters Complaints Review Panel to oversee such complaints and we would encourage all supporters, again, to inform us if they believe that they have been the victim of harassment

([email protected] and [email protected] ).

We are continuing investigations into events prior to the match against Aberdeen, which we take very seriously, and we are assisting seven supporters who have raised complaints against the police and requested our support.

The Club is working with other football clubs and the Scottish Football Association to investigate whether it would be appropriate for clubs to apply to the courts for Civil Football Banning Orders as a means of allowing clubs to ensure safe and secure stadia.

We are taking all of these steps to protect the reputation of the Club and to ensure that supporters can attend Celtic matches in a safe and secure environment. Celtic Football Club is obliged to ensure safe and responsible behaviour at all times within Celtic Park in order to maintain the Club’s safety certificate.

There have been suggestions in recent weeks that the Club is in some way working against supporters. These are very disappointing, inaccurate and divisive accusations – they could not be further from the truth.

As we have made clear many times, we do not act in collusion with the police, or any other authorities. We have, and will, seek to ensure that the Club and our supporters are dealt with fairly. We will not tolerate harassment of Celtic supporters in any way, shape or form.

We are pleased to clarify the above matter and look forward to working positively with our supporters’ groups and individual supporters, in the best interests of Celtic Football Club.

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