“The Club reiterates its sincere sympathy, regret and sorrow for those affected.” “The Club is very sorry that these events took place.”
So read a statement by Celtic on historic child abuse allegations concerning Celtic Boys Club, issued on 26 February, before two consecutive items on Channel 4 News, in the latter of which, Alex Thomson said, “To date, not a single football club has issued a public apology.”
The broadcast actually carried the Celtic statement a few moments later. That feels unnecessarily crass, Alex. Several clubs have failed to issue a public apology for historic child abuse, only one in Scotland that I am aware of, issued an apology.
Celtic are not, as accused by Channel 4, silent on the matter. They have now issued four public statements.
Celtic have been or are in dialogue with police, lawyers and victims. As far as I am aware, they are the only Scottish club to have paid compensation to victims – this is all on record, Alex, payments made to victims – on record. On-going dialogue – on record. Public apologies – on record. They are just not speaking to you, which is not actually that important.
What Channel 4 News authorised was vile attempts to reduce child abuse to football banter by Adam Tomkins, Tory MSP, who after Copenhagen’s win Tweeted, “Not the best week for Celtic, then….. #SorryNotSorry”
When it was put to James Dornan, SNP MSP, that Celtic and Celtic Boys Club were not linked, he responded, “It’s a complete nonsense, all the evidence suggests… that the Boys Club and the Football Club were intrinsically linked.”
Where is this complete nonsense coming from Mr Dornan, because here is what Celtic wrote: “although Celtic Football Club is a separate organisation, we take these extremely seriously because of the historic contacts between the two organisations?”
MSPs are feeding on distress.
What happened is vile and caused untold damage to the lives of many victims. No amount of money will properly compensate for what happened, but sensitivity and diligence is required. So too is responsible and accurate reporting.