I spoke to Celtic today about various questions surrounding stewarding and policing in and around the stadium.
The club would not be specific on any particular incident but I got a run down on various instances (alleged assault, vandalism) when Celtic have responded to police requests for identifying information on fans. Celtic said the police can only ask for identifying information if they allege a crime has been committed and Celtic’s safety certificate, allowing them to open the stadium, depends on the club complying with police requests if they allege a crime has been committed.
The club were clear that complying with police requests on such instances is not a matter of choice for Celtic, “It happens, it has always happened, and it happens at every other club in the UK”.
I asked if the club target fans and ask the police to arrest them. I was told this is ludicrous to suggest the police do the bidding of the club (I was also laughed at for making the suggestion). Celtic can revoke tickets and stadium access without recourse to the police.
My conversation happened before anyone at Celtic heard last night’s podcast from the HomeBhoys but I asked specific questions about the red haired fan discussed who was allegedly brandishing a seat and was told no police request had been received in connection to him and that his details had therefore not been passed to the police.
I understand the club have met with various supporters’ groups and clarified these issues, as well as more general stadium safety matters, and that they will issue a statement later today in response to questions asked by the Celtic Trust, who I believe put many of these points in writing.
After speaking to Celtic I spoke to a police officer who is a regular Match Commander at SPL games (not Celtic games) who confirmed clubs would lose their safety certificate if they failed to cooperate with the police.
Having had the chance to put questions to Celtic I asked them give others the same opportunity and to unconditionally meet with any fans’ group with concerns on any of these matters. They assured me they would.