CELTIC this evening announced that the vast majority of the supporters within the Standing Section that have been subjected to a 2 match ban, will be able to return to Paradise after this weekend’s opening league fixture against Hearts.
However a small number of supporters will remain excluded from the Standing Section, and indeed Celtic Park, as the club continues to investigate the issues that arose concerning flares at the Hearts game in May and an illicit banner at the Linfield match earlier this month.
Hopefully the supporters within the scope of the ban, and this includes the Green Brigade, and the club are talking and can reach an understanding on what can happen within the ground on match day that does not breach safety regulations and also does not attract more UEFA fines.
You get the feeling that UEFA themselves may soon take action to close the Standing Section at Celtic Park or even a wider areas within the stadium.
This really is essential to avoid.
The statements previously released by the club on one hand and both the Green Brigade and the Celtic Trust on the other, gave little hope that a compromise situation could be reached that would satisfy all sides in the Celtic family.
Therefore this evening’s news is good in that it gets supporters who have been excluded back as soon as possible and indicates that some form of compromise can be reached.
There is no doubt that the standing section has been a wonderful addition to Celtic Park. So many clubs have visited Celtic to see how it operates and the atmosphere it generates and all go away hugely impressed.
Credit for this goes to the supporters who occupy those places within the stadium – especially the Green Brigade – and also the Celtic Board who had the foresight to pioneer this facility at Celtic Park.
Yet they have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for everyone entering the stadium. Only this week Liverpool supporters gave their overwhelming backing to a plan to introduce Safer Standing after noting the experiment at Celtic Park.
Here is the Celtic statement in full for those who haven’t yet seen it.
“Following recent safety issues in relation to the Club’s matches against Heart of Midlothian and Linfield and the subsequent two-match closure being announced, Celtic has today confirmed that the majority of Season Ticket holders who occupy the front section of the Rail Seating area at Celtic Park will be able to re-enter the section after August 5, 2017.
“The Club is now in the process of writing to those supporters to inform them of this decision and to confirm the control measures which are in place to allow the area to be reopened and operated safely by the Club.
“We fully understand that this has been a difficult period for those affected. However, the decision was taken amidst serious safety concerns. The Club is continuing to investigate events from the matches against Hearts and Linfield and a number of fans within this area remain suspended.
“Celtic will continue to liaise with these supporters as well as the relevant stadium safety authorities. Our objective is to work towards re-opening the section in full, something which can only be achieved by ensuring a safe environment which meets the requirements of the Safety Advisory Group.
“Celtic is responsible for the safety of every supporter entering Celtic Park. We can never and will never compromise on safety.”
Meanwhile listen to the new CQN Podcast below. It is very, very good!