Trust Statement re civil rights infringements

Published on Monday 18th February, 2013 by Celtic Trust

 

The Celtic Trust wishes to make its position clear in relation to recent events surrounding the treatment of Celtic supporters and particularly our comrades in the Green Brigade.  We, like most fans yesterday, were not clear why Section 111 was empty.  When the GB decided not to attend two games in November, we organised a ‘Stand up for the Green Brigade’ protest in the 12th minute which was very well supported.  We would have been happy to do so again but obviously the events of Saturday were not anticipated, but the reasons behind their absence have now become clear. 

The Green Brigade have now issued a statement which contains a number of points which we believe are of particular relevance.  Firstly, they have indicated that a meeting took place between Celtic and some unnamed supporters’ organisations before Christmas at which the targeting of particular Celtic supporters was discussed.  For the avoidance of any doubt among the wider support (the GB are in no doubt about our position) the Celtic Trust did not attend any such meeting; we were not invited to any such meeting; we were not aware that such a meeting had taken place until afterwards and we would not ever, under any circumstances, have participated in such a meeting.

 Probably more importantly, we are able to confirm that the kinds of harassment of Celtic supporters which they describe and the targeting of our fans (mainly but not exclusively GB members) using the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act continues apace.  Indeed it appears from our knowledge to be accelerating as we move towards the review period at the end of this season.  We know of no Celtic fan who has actually been convicted under the Act except those who through fear or ignorance have pleaded guilty.  However, as we predicted when the Bill was going through, many, many young fans have been arrested either at games or from home (or at airports!) and dragged back and forth across Scotland to attend preliminary court hearings on charges which are ultimately dropped or result in a Not Guilty verdict.  The Crown Office could also be said to be preparing for the Review by instructing the police to increase arrests under the Act and by appealing Sheriff Court Not Guilty verdicts.  The events of the past week are entirely consistent with that view. 

As a member body of Fans Against Criminalisation, we have, together with the other organisations, continued to monitor the situation and to record all incidents of which we are informed.  In addition, the Trust and its officers have worked very hard to support any fan who has been targeted in this way by providing support and advice and by representing them, if necessary, in terms of recovering their season ticket rights.  At our own AGM which took place on Saturday before the game, we pledged our continuing commitment to this activity and discussed increasing the resources going into this work in preparation for the upcoming review of the Act.  It now appears that we need to bring these plans forward and, in particular, it seems vital that a large public event should now be organised to highlight the rampant abuse of Celtic fans and the increasing intensity with which their civil rights are being infringed.  

In the meantime, we call on all fans who find themselves targeted in this way to contact either FAC or the Celtic Trust and give us the details.  We, in turn, will help you in any way we can. 

Finally, we call on Celtic FC to make a public statement on the issues raised by the GB.  It is simply not tenable for the current custodians of the Club to remain silent while fans are being subjected to this appalling treatment. 

 

 
 

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