THE Directors and Board of Celtic Football Club are responsible for the safety of all supporters, and this is their primary objective.
For some time the Club has been under close scrutiny by the Glasgow City Council Safety Advisory Group with regard to serious safety concerns within Section 111. The Safety Advisory Group is responsible for recommending the annual renewal of the General Safety Certificate which determines the safe spectator capacity of Celtic Park and allows the stadium to operate.
The Safety Advisory Group’s primary concerns, which are shared by the Club include:
• Overcrowding of Section 111 resulting in unsafe congestion.
• The refusal of spectators to comply with the direction of safety stewards.
• The unsafe lateral movement of spectators blocking aisles.
• ´Moshing´ – mock fighting/jostling – causing crowd disruption and damage to seating (131 damaged at Tuesday’s night’s match).
• The ´body surfing´ of young people over the heads of spectators.
Regrettably, all of the above concerns were evident at Tuesday night’s fixture against Cliftonville FC. In addition, three fireworks were exploded within Section 111, causing the Match Referee to require a stadium announcement to be made instructing such behaviour to stop. As a result of this unprecedented step by a match official, Celtic FC will now be the subject of a disciplinary action for contravention of the UEFA Safety and Security Regulations.
Following the events of last Tuesday’s match, the Club’s position was to close Section 111, but following discussions between the Club’s Supporters’ Liaison Officer and representatives of the ‘Green Brigade’ that decision has been reviewed and the section will remain open. However, the situation will be monitored at both the Celtic FC v Borussia Monchengladbach match on Saturday 27th July, and the Celtic FC v IF Elfsborg match on Wednesday, July 31.
The Club is keen to work with spectators in Section 111 to resolve safety concerns. However, it should be understood that failure to stop this unsafe behaviour will require the closure of this area in Celtic Park.
The Club recognises the many examples of good support for the team emanating from this part of the ground and in particular the efforts of the ‘Green Brigade’ in organising positive displays which are commended. However, the unsafe aspects of spectator behaviour in Section 111 require to be addressed with immediate effect.
The Directors and Board of Celtic Football Club consider their responsibilities with regard to Spectator Safety to be of paramount importance. We will continue dialogue with representative of fans in this area to resolve these serious safety concerns however this unsafe behaviour must stop.