Celtic contact all season ticket holders with Green Brigade update

Ahead of the Scottish Premiership match against Aberdeen at Celtic Park on Sunday afternoon Celtic this afternoon emailed season ticket holders with an update on the situation with the Green Brigade and in doing so revealed that the Ultas group have NOT been in contact with the club since the stadium ban was imposed.

: Supporter holds up a Palestinian flag prior to the UEFA Champions League match between Celtic FC and Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park Stadium on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic also categorically deny that the Palestine flag display had anything to do with the ban and explain the reasons why the ban was ultimately necessary.  Explanations about how those affected can proceed are given including refunds on season tickets and relocation options for those affected should that be appropriate.

In involving every season ticket holder in this matter Celtic are at least delivering transparency with the support. The Green Brigade will no doubt respond as and when they see fit but ultimately no solution is going to be forthcoming until they sit down with the club to discuss the issues of concern that have been raised and agree a roadmap for the future that will allow the Green Brigade to return to the games and do what they do best and that is supporting Celtic.

This update is welcome as it provides a clear and accurate update to all season ticket holders, and clarifies any contradictory statements made during this dispute.

The club confirm as The Celtic Star has previously reported that the Palestinian flag display is categorically not the reason for the current suspension.

Celtic re-iterate that safety is primary reason for the current ban.

They also clarify that all matches not attended will be re-imbursed and note that suggestions to the contrary are totally inaccurate.

And they explain what will happen to the tickets while the ban is active, explaining that these will go to those who cannot normally attend matches.

Importantly Celtic conform that they are open to moving the position on and are seeking discussion with the Green Brigade and hopefully a resolution.

Here’s the message sent out to the clubs and if you are a season ticket holder it’s also going to be in your inbox.

RAIL SEATING SECTION UPDATE

We are writing to you with an update regarding the Rail Seating Section at Celtic Park.

You may already be aware of recent communications from the Club to each of the ‘Green Brigade’, Season Ticket holders who have registered with the Ticket Office as being part of the ‘Green Brigade’ supporters’ club, and to all Season Ticket holders located within the Rail Seating Section.

For clarity, the Club’s email to the Rail Seating Section is included at the bottom of this email. In short, as a result of the accumulation of unacceptable behaviours, the lack of compliance with the Ground Regulations, the Rail Seating Safety Code of Conduct and requests by the Club, it is not considered possible at the moment to manage safety within Celtic Park with ‘Green Brigade’ members in the stadium. It was therefore necessary to suspend the Season Tickets of all Season Ticket holders who have registered with the Ticket Office as being part of the ‘Green Brigade’ supporters’ club. This is currently 267 people in total, all of whom have been contacted directly by the Club to explain the consequences of such registration, including the potential for action against all group members in line with the Season Ticket terms and conditions.

Celtic v St Mirren – Peter Lawwell and Michael Nicholson in the stands during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Wednesday November 1, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

The Club’s emails outlined actions that the Club has taken in respect of the ‘Green Brigade’ amid the Club’s ongoing review of unacceptable conduct concerning the group. These progressive steps, including removal of non-matchday access at Celtic Park, removal of matchday access at Celtic Park and suspension of access to away tickets, have culminated in the suspension of Season Tickets detailed above.

Ahead of Sunday’s match versus Aberdeen at Celtic Park, the Club wishes to provide our Season Ticket holders with a clear and accurate update on the rationale behind the steps taken by the Club and the current status of the process.

As the Club has already stated and the group and its members are well aware, the steps taken and suspensions made have categorically not been imposed as a result of the display of Palestinian flags. The Club has explained to the group in writing the specific reasons behind each of the progressive actions taken in relation to the group. These are based on very real safety concerns resulting from the behaviour of the group. Many of the behaviours have been going on for a considerable period of time, have resulted in previous actions in relation to the group, and are very well known to the group.

The Club has evidence of these behaviours. These behaviours have been set out most recently in writing to the group on 14 September, 4 October, 20 October, 23 October and 31 October and follow on from similar issues being formally discussed and action being taken by the Club against the group last season. No response has been received by the Club from the group to these emails.

The Club is therefore disappointed with the attempts by the group not only to downplay the safety related behaviours, some of which the group has now publicly admitted, but also to conflate the reasoning behind the actions taken by the Club with the use by supporters of Palestinian flags. That is particularly so, when there is evidence of the group using banners and flags relating to or connected with terrorist organisations involved in the conflict in the Middle East.

Celtic’s Japanese striker #08 Kyogo Furuhashi (L) celebrates after scoring his team first goal during the UEFA Champions League group E football match between Celtic and Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The Club wishes to highlight the following:

267 people who have registered themselves with the Ticket Office as being part of the ‘Green Brigade’ supporters’ club (and were made aware of the potential consequences of this registration) are currently suspended for safety reasons;

The Club is working through a number of requests from amongst that 267 who no longer wish to be registered with the group and will continue to liaise directly with these individuals;

The Club is also working through other communications received across the Club relating to the matter and, following screening, will respond where deemed appropriate;

Subject to specific action taken against any individuals found to be directly involved in serious instances of unacceptable conduct, the Club will offer and process refunds for any match or matches missed due to this suspension;

The third instalment of the UEFA Champions League package was taken by the Club in line with the relevant terms and conditions, however, refunds will also be available for this match for any supporter who remains suspended for that match;

In respect of Tuesday night’s match versus Atletico Madrid, no tickets were ever issued to or charged to any Season Ticket holder registered with the group;

The Club is willing to cancel the Season Ticket and process pro-rata refunds for any Season Ticket holder currently suspended should that individual so wish. Similarly, the Club is willing to discuss the possible relocation of any such individual out of the Rail Seating Section upon request; and

Whilst efforts are ongoing to resolve the current situation, and on a match by match basis for any seat subject to the suspension, the Club plan to offer tickets free of charge to recipients who may otherwise be unable to attend Celtic Park.

The Club considers that this approach is proportionate and reasonable while working through this important safety matter and is happy to discuss any aspect of the ongoing issues with supporters or supporter groups.

Finally, as we have repeatedly communicated to representatives of the ‘Green Brigade’, the Club remains open to communication and engagement on the wider matter with a view to returning to a situation where rules and regulations around operating safely are respected and complied with.

Should you wish to contact the Club on this or any other matter related to the Rail Seating Section, we would ask that you direct your correspondence in the first instance to railseating@celticfc.co.uk.

Thank you for your continued support.

Celtic Football Club

PREVIOUS COMMUNICATION TO RAIL SEATING SECTION ISSUED ON: 31 OCTOBER, 2023

Ahead of our match versus St. Mirren at Celtic Park tomorrow night, the Club wanted to update you regarding the Rail Seating Section at Celtic Park.

You may already be aware of the recent actions that the Club has taken in respect of the Green Brigade, relating to access at home matches and access to away tickets and the Club’s review of unacceptable conduct concerning the group. Following that review, and further serious issues with the behaviour of Green Brigade members at the last two matches, the Club deems it necessary to take further action in respect of the group.

In light of the behaviour of group members, including numerous examples of non-compliance with the Ground Regulations, the Rail Seating Safety Code of Conduct, and Club communications, over a period stretching back to September, the Club has determined that it requires to suspend the Season Tickets of all Season Ticket holders who have registered with the Ticket Office as being part of the ‘Green Brigade’ supporters’ club. This is pending further review and communication with the group and/or the supporters in question regarding compliance with the Ground Regulations, the Rail Seating Safety Code of Conduct, and Club communications, moving forward.

The safe operation of the section relies on compliance with the Ground Regulations and the Rail Seating Section Safety Code of Conduct. The Rail Seating Section Safety Code of Conduct states that “the safe operation of the Rail Seating Section at Celtic Park requires effective communication and engagement with the supporters in that area”. For this reason, the Club considers that it is necessary to communicate directly with all spectators in the Rail Seating Section to give you honest and transparent detail on the matter.

Formal communications with the group representatives have given specific examples of the behaviours which have led the Club to take these progressive actions but these have included the following:

  • The widespread and unsafe use of pyrotechnics in Feyenoord on 19 September, which resulted in a fine for the Club from UEFA and safety issues for, and complaints from, other Celtic supporters;
  • The unsafe behaviour at Fir Park on 30 September, including rushing turnstiles and forcing open fire exits to permit access to individuals without tickets and pitch incursions;
  • Illegally gained access to Celtic Park in advance of the match against Lazio on 4 October to bring in an unauthorised banner, including deliberate circumvention of safety and security rules and protocols, and intimidating and threatening behaviour towards staff;
  • Abuse of matchday access at Celtic Park in advance of the match against Kilmarnock on 7 October and another unauthorised display, breaching the restrictions previously communicated, and intimidating and threatening behaviour towards staff;
  • Abuse of matchday access at Celtic Park in advance of the match against Atletico Madrid on 25 October and another unauthorised display, breaching the restrictions previously communicated, including circumvention of safety and security procedures and the migration of many members of the group (some of whom were wearing face coverings) out of the Rail Seating Section across the North Stand prior to kick off; and
  • Unsafe behaviour at Easter Road on 28 October, including violent and intimidating behaviour towards stewards.

Further, it was also clearly explained to the group to that, as a result of unacceptable behaviours during Season 2022/23, the Club was required to submit a report to the Safety Advisory Group of Glasgow City Council, following every home game in an attempt to address the SAG’s “concerns regarding the conduct of certain spectators located within the north-east curve area”.

Regrettably however, this season we have experienced the accumulation of behaviours noted above, and it is as a result of the increasingly serious escalation in these unacceptable behaviours and non compliance with applicable regulations that the progressive steps are being taken by the Club.

The Club should also note that it has been advised of a number of banners and flags used by the Green Brigade which relate to or are connected with terrorist organisations involved in the conflict in the Middle East. This is completely unacceptable at Celtic Park and any match involving Celtic Football Club. The Club is continuing to investigate these and other unacceptable instances of the groups actions.

To be clear, the Club values engagement with any and all supporters and supporter groups who wish to positively support Celtic. Indeed, we have many excellent ongoing relationships across the Rail Seating Section and beyond but these are built upon a foundation of trust, respect for the rules and regulations relating to safety and mutual cooperation. We ask that those remaining supporters in the Rail Seating Section work with us in following the rules that apply to all supporters who attend Celtic Park, and those specifically created to ensure safety in your section.

Should you wish to contact the Club on this or any other matter related to the Rail Seating Section, we would ask that you direct your correspondence in the first instance to railseating@celticfc.co.uk.

Best wishes,

Celtic Football Club

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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