Celtic Trust share pre-Glasgow Derby statement, warning for SFA

By Euan Davidson

March 19, 2021

The Celtic Trust have backed the club’s stance on fan congregation on Sunday.

With the club at pains to stress the need for fans to stay home, the Trust have offered a statement of support. The Trust and the club have, of course, been at odds for much of the season. Membership has risen rapidly as Celtic have stumbled through a tumultuous season, on and off the pitch.

The statement read [Celtic Trust]:

“The club is urging supporters not to come to Celtic Park on Sunday given the serious health risks associated with mass gatherings in the current environment and Scottish government government guidelines. The SLO also reiterated there is no concern about fan behaviour and is about social responsibility during a pandemic.

“The Celtic Trust is fully behind this position and supports the club in this matter and we shall inform our our members and supporters in general via our social media platforms.”

Celtic fans protest the board, earlier this season / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic Trust make interesting addition to Derby narrative

There was, however, an interesting wrinkle to the statement.

The Trust emphasised that Celtic players shouldn’t be risked during the upcoming international break. The group have urged the club not to allow international players to leave for international duty, explaining the risks from a safety point of view.

It’s understandable to an extent. However, it’s the first time we’ve seen anyone make this point. The statement continued:

“The Celtic Trust is also of the view that the same rationale and position applies to the SFA’s requisitioning of the club’s players for international matches to be played later this month. We do not believe that Celtic players should be travelling out with a safe bubble to play in World Cup qualifier games.

“The risks for our players at this time is unacceptable given the SFA’s safety safety arrangements fall outside the control and standards of Celtic FC, their employer.

“We ask Celtic to use any rights of veto available to them to prevent our players leaving their Celtic bubble.”

It’s a salient point: should the club allow international players to leave the club temporarily? On the surface, yes, because it’s an honour for the individuals. If it can be done safely, then there’s no problem, right?

However, there have been several incidents resulting from international football. Odsonne Edouard caught Covid-19 on duty with the France U-21s [Sky Sports]. Ryan Christie had to self-isolate after travelling with Scotland [Scotsman]. There is precedent, and it’s not something that’s been widely discussed.

Is an international break entirely necessary just now? / (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

A debate worth having?

Everyone, from the Celtic View to the Celtic Academy has been affected adversely by Covid. As supporters, we’ve gone over a year without a match at Celtic Park. It’s been torrid, deadly and depressing in the extreme.

Perhaps international fixtures increase the risk in terms of the playing squad. Do World Cup qualifiers need to happen right now? It’s an interesting debate to have. Certainly, with light at the end of the tunnel [BBC], the last thing anyone wants is a spike in cases now.

It’s interesting that the Trust has brought this up. Perhaps it’s a debate we need to have in the near future.

READ MORE: At last, the club puts this utter nonsense to rest.