Peter Lawwell revealed why the club have decided to close down the standing section at Celtic Park indefinitely and withhold the Green Brigade’s Scottish Cup Final tickets.
Celtic recently decided to close down the standing-only section of Parkhead, generally occupied by the Green Brigade, for their Europa League clash against Rennes. The club also withheld the tickets of the club’s ultras for the Scottish League Cup Final.
The club have been recently in trouble with UEFA because of the actions of the Green Brigade. They were fined 12,900 pounds by the governing body for obscene chants and the banner that they displayed during their 2-1 win over Lazio at home last month. They then got back in disciplinary trouble again for using pyrotechnics in the return tie against the Italians in Rome.
This was their third charge in Europe this season and overall 20th charge since 2007. It is clear that some was action was required with the club continuously losing money for the actions of a minority of their fan base. Closing down Green Brigade’s section for the game against Rennes seems to be just that.
Peter Lawwell decided to reveal how much the Green Brigade had cost the Hoops over the years. Speaking at the Celtic’s AGM, as reported by the Evening Express the club’s chief executive said:
“It’s a small minority that let us down and it’s a challenge in terms of safety and of protecting our reputation.
“You saw today that Feyenoord fans have been banned from travelling abroad which would affect all our supporters in terms of European travel.
“So we had to take action to prevent further possible stricter action from UEFA.
“We have the responsibility first for safety and secondly to protect the reputation of the club and the supporters have that as well.
“We are all proud of our reputation around the world and I am sure the supporters are.
“For the vast majority of times over there (Green Brigade) it is colour, atmosphere, energy and youth and it’s fantastic but there are times when a small minority let us down.
“The unfortunately concerning thing for us, is that they don’t seem to believe they are doing anything wrong.
“So in terms of overcrowding, pyrotechnics, abusive banners, abusive singing and alcohol in the stadium, these are things that just cannot go on.
“They are against the law, they are against ground regulations and they are against the rules of the competition.”
The Green Brigade had released a scathing response to the club’s actions yesterday. And it had created a controversy in the Celtic community with a portion of the fans siding with the club’s ultras while the others siding with the board.
Ultimately though it is hard to justify the Green Brigade continuously costing the club monetary losses and risking future bans from European competitions because of things as pointless as banners and pyrotechnics. The club comes first and they must realize this before they are let into Celtic Park the next time.