Alex Thompson of Channel 4 News has been in Scotland working on a piece about historic child abuse this week. This morning he Tweeted a photo of Celtic Park, adding the words, “Watch this space”.
While these matters happened decades ago, Celtic are still Celtic, and have a corporate responsibility for all that went before. Fergus McCann first acknowledged what took place. He setup counselling facilities and instructed an independent investigation into the actions of the club under the old board. This happened 25 years ago.
There is no statute of limitation on victims coming forward. Some only want to tell their story, to be heard and be assured that processes are different now. Others seek financial compensation. I don’t think there is a lot of money involved, certainly not for Celtic, who have insurance.
What happened was terrible, affected countless boys and went on for perhaps 20 years. The club must act appropriately and responsibly. The matter does not lend itself to dialogue on social media, or a running commentary through other media. There is a process underway, I have no idea how long it will take, or if everyone will be satisfied with the outcome.
Historic child abuse is handled so flippantly by others it has become a football itself. Much comment is sensationalist, “Watch this space”, is not a promising start. This subject does not benefit from a drumroll introduction.
The subject is also most commonly reported about one club – Celtic – to the exclusion of all others. It should be reported and those responsible held to account, but balance your reporting. There are three Glasgow clubs under review for this matter right now, as well as the SFA. Coverage mostly concentrates on the one that was first to react and offer help.