Yesterday’s statement by Celtic was clear and unambiguous. The club are aware of reports of ill-treatment of supporters by police and have an established process in place to handle concerns, directed through the umbrella Fans Against Criminalisation Group (incorporating Association, GB, Affiliation, Irish Association and Trust). Two complaints have been received and actioned since December, which sounds like we have an under-reporting issue.
I am very pleased they have committed to form a Complaints Panel, with representatives from the support and the club. We are the one family so there is no need for the club to manage complaints, the support is more than qualified on this matter. This is important as it gives supporters oversight and ensures the club cannot act behind supporters’ backs on such an important issue, which should ensure that going forward matters are dealt with properly.
This is the response I wanted from Celtic.
Celtic also suggest accusations they have targeted supporters are “without foundation”, asking “What would be the Club’s motivation for being involved in activity which targets or victimises supporters? It is simply not true. It does not make sense.” It makes no sense, of course.
Statements from the Green Brigade on Saturday, and the Affiliation committee (who believe they were referred to in the Green Brigade’s statement) today, raise some real concerns.
If, as the Affiliation suggest, “In recent weeks have seen finger pointing, whispers, rumours and lies aimed at organisations and individuals within them from sections of our own support”, we have a poison in our midst.
These matters are important enough (to me, anyway) for all parties to require clarification. Get whoever said what to whom about whoever in a room together. You will soon find out who has the cojones to look everyone else in the eye, and you will find out who is damaging your football club.
Lest we forget, these matters are a result of First Fantasist Alex Salmond’s Offensive Behaviour at Football’ Bill. The consequences of which were predicted by Fans Against Criminalisation Group, as well as Celtic, who in their written submission to the Justice Committee (sic) said as much:
“The legislation potentially discriminates against the football supporter by reason of that person being a football supporter. It criminalises him or her for being a football supporter and not only because of the nature of his or her behaviour. In other words, exactly the same behaviour could be deemed illegal if performed by a football supporter, while not constituting an offence by anyone not participating in a football environment.
“An offence of “offensive behaviour“ and the test of the reasonable person, are introduced in section 1(2) (e). This test is extremely wide and creates considerable uncertainty over what is or is not acceptable.
“If this offence is to be introduced notwithstanding our comments above, clear guidelines should be published by the Lord Advocate to explain what sorts of conduct are considered as offensive or unacceptable. The potential for confusion in the absence of clear and consistent guidelines is potentially limitless and runs the risk of the law becoming unenforceable, or brought into disrepute.”
The Scottish Government passed sloppy legislation and put extraordinary funds into a policing project which only serves to make them look clueless.
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