4th Open Meeting report

Published on Thursday 30th September, 2010 by Celtic Trust

The following is a short report of the meeting written by one of the participants: The 4th Open Meeting was called in order to report back on what happened after the last Open Meeting when it was agreed that the issues raised – The Poppy and SFA/Referee Quality – should be taken to Celtic.


The Poppy

On the Poppy issue Celtic undertook to consider the points made i.e. no Poppy on the jersey and the right of people to pay respects rather than be coerced into it. Celtic will be approached again shortly to ascertain their position after listening to our views and it was agreed that this information would be distributed by email and through the websites as previously.


SFA/Referee Quality

On SFA/Referee Quality there will be meetings with Henry McLeish and later in the year with the Cross-Party Group on Sport (MSPs) on the issues of transparency/accountability of the SFA and their processes. Ways of involving other clubs on the issue were also discussed at the Open Meeting itself. It was felt that individuals or individual groups might be more effective than trying to arrange an organised approach to other club groups. Henry McLeish could be encouraged to speak to other support groups to find out if they shared our view on the issue and the matter will be raised by the Celtic Trust at a Supporters Direct meeting that they are attending at end of May.


Changing Communication

A significant development came from a subsequent meeting with Celtic in which Peter Lawell indicated that he was took a positive view towards involving supporter representatives before decisions are made rather than making them and telling us afterwards. The actual mechanisms for doing this need to be explored further, and a couple of possibilities were discussed at the meeting, but if it can be done it will represent a major change in the way Celtic communicate with the support. This change is more about a change of attitude at Celtic to allow support input before decision making which allows the possibility of influencing them rather than one way communication from Celtic via the various existing routes with different groups afterwards. A change of attitude all round is key to building any mechanisms (of which the Open Meeting process is but a beginning). There was a view that this will simply not happen because the will to do so at the very top does not exist but there was a counter view that with support dissatisfaction at the level it now is and revenue under threat, there are more benefits to Celtic to listening to us than continuing with the current, obviously unsatisfactory, arrangements. Quite how it will all pan out depends to what degree the attitude has changed at Celtic and how the various supporter groups want to organise to provide their input. In the past Celtic's perceived/real reluctance to engage in two way dialogue has discouraged various support groups or supporters from either attempting dialogue or meant where it has happened it has been accompanied by a fair degree of cynicism. There is to be a related motion from the Celtic Trust to the Celtic PLC AGM this year and this represents another way to approach the matter. In any event there was a general agreement that we need new ways for Celtic and the support to work together for the ongoing benefit of everyone. It was agreed that the next Open Meeting would be held shortly after the start of the season. Subject to a suitable venue being found, it was agreed that a Saturday morning of a home game would be better but, if not, a weekday evening would be acceptable.


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