Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Celtic Football Club is forced to act in order to keep their Stadium General Safety Certificate, they have closed the Green Brigade section in Parkhead over safety fears, fans ignoring Stewards cannot be tolerated any longer

Dear All

I rarely do Football stories on this blog as many of the regular readers know; the reason is that I am not a Football fan.

Occasionally, I will watch a game if I am with my friends, who enjoy it, but I don’t follow it.

The Glasgow Rangers saga is an unfortunate episode for their fans; hopefully they will get whatever problems they have sorted out, although I am not interested in football, I do support the people who work there, they have families to take care of, just as the staff at Celtic Park has loved ones to support as well.

Football games by their very nature are highly emotional affairs where ‘two armies’ fight it out on the pitch, I think of it like dueling with the spectators on the sidelines.

However, the spectators are quite vocal in nature that can sometimes cause problems for football clubs.

Celtic has taken a rather unusual step in closing part of their ground which is home to 'Green Brigade'.

On wiki, the Green Brigade state:

“whilst it was evident that there was accidental damage, 131 broken seats appeared to be an embellishment. While this damage is regrettable it is totally accidental and simply a product of our sometimes boisterous style of support – intentional damage would not only be idiotic but it would not be tolerated”.

131 seats were accidentally broken?


Celtic have been in discussion with the group, as they tried to fix the problem, and the bottom line is that measures taken was done to avoid being forced to close the stadium completely.

Take the time to read the wiki page:

It seems that there is a general air of self denial on the part of these people, the nub of the problem is safety which the Green Brigade appear to be not taking seriously; part of their request in discussions with the club is that they get a regular stewarding team. Why, so they can ignore the same people continually?

Giving that they are ignoring Stewards; why would any Steward wish to work with them, not only does the group have little regard for their safety, they patently don’t care about Stewards or the wider security concerns that they must deal with.

Football games because of the large numbers have the potential for massive disturbance because very quickly a pack mentality can take place.

When that happens people can get hurt, so, to ensure safety fans must comply with the instructions that the Stewards have been issued as part of their remit.

I can understand people jumping up for example when a goal is scored or they wish to celebrate or protest some incident, however, the Green Brigade as a group have to accept some responsibility.

Celtic however, given the nature of the group should have perhaps vetted who else got to sit in that section, the Green Brigade point of has some merit. I don’t know a lot about how season tickets work; maybe a photographic card would help, rather like an ID card, anyone sitting in their section without their card, removed by Police.

Their point of:

“Celtic this season had refused to allow us to control who has tickets for our block”.

Celtic is a business, so that won’t happen, why they thought that this would ever be up for talks is beyond me, and the sooner they learn that this isn’t ‘our section’ but Celtic’s, the sooner it will click with them.

And to further say this is down to the incompetence of the Stewards again doesn’t help their argument that they get a regular steward team, part of stewarding is to enjoy the event as well as getting paid, not be subject to an anti social element.

There isn’t a proper argument coming from the Green Brigade why some fans ignored warnings to stay in their seats during games.

How many times do you have to ask someone to sit down?

Fans who sit in Section 111 of Celtic Park are to be offered a refund or the chance to move elsewhere to cheer on the team; although not the outcome that the fans had hoped for, Celtic cannot get into a continuous never ending discussion on this issue, because this behavior would spread to other sections.

And then someone or a number of people would get hurt either deliberately or by accident.

Celtic Football Club like any business must have a general safety certificate to operate, certain measures are needed to ensure they comply with the law, otherwise it is at risk.

In a statement, Celtic said:

“We have been left with no option but to take steps to ensure the safety of our supporters. Stadium safety is covered by a Stadium General Safety Certificate, which is issued annually by Glasgow City Council in terms of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975. Without our safety certificate, we could not open and operate the stadium. If the club were to receive assurances on safety then we may look at this situation again. In order to protect our safety certificate, it is essential that we comply with all of our duties in terms of safety for spectators at Celtic Park. Unsafe behaviour at Celtic Park is not acceptable and we have made our position on this clear."

And on top of that it would also mean ordinary people losing their jobs, some of whom are part time and like everyone else these days, needs the money to survive.

Last month, the Green Brigade received a final warning after UEFA opened an investigation into the setting off of fireworks during a European match against Cliftonville.

So, when you look at this section 111 in the round, there is a problem with overcrowding, the refusal of spectators to comply with stewards, mock fighting, body surfing of young people over the heads of spectators and seating being wrecked.

Celtic were left with no choice, it seems that discussion wasn’t working, and sooner or later it would have to come to ahead, well that day has dawned for the Green Brigade.

There are always people who will spoil it for the rest, and that is exactly what has happened here.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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