Peter Lawwell happy as Celtic get government green light to avoid 'crazy situation'

By John McGinley

July 24, 2020

Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell reckons the club are in decent shape for August’s European qualifiers after Neil Lennon’s squad were given the go-ahead to travel to the continent for matches and not have to quarantine upon their return.

The draw for the qualifiers is due to take place in Switzerland next month and Celtic could face teams from high-risk nations when it comes to the ongoing pandemic.

However, the Scottish champions will take advantage of a Scottish Government ‘elite athlete exemption’ that avoids potential quarantine periods.

Had it not been agreed, European involvement would have created chaos when it comes to our fixture schedule.

Lawwell told The Scottish Daily Mail (24/07 print edition, page 99): “It was agreed (by the Scottish Government) — at the same time they agreed the air bridges — that there is an elite athlete exemption.

“So, for the Champions League and Europa League qualifiers, we have exemptions to travel abroad, subject to their control measures.

“We will certainly do that and, consequently, we don’t need to quarantine. It has also been agreed that teams coming here from those countries shouldn’t have to quarantine on their return either.

“It would have been a crazy situation otherwise but we’re now in decent shape for the draw. There might be other nations who don’t have that comfort because they don’t have the right protocols or control measures.”

Although public safety, as well as the health of Celtic employees, is obviously much more important than football, it’s excellent that the Scottish Government and top clubs in the country have found a sensible way to proceed.

UEFA competition will again be high on the list of priorities for the Bhoys this season, from a money perspective as much as anything.

UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland / (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

If we can live up to our likely seeded status and qualify for the group stages of the Champions League it would go a long way towards helping deal with the financial fall out of the pandemic.

Anything that helps us better achieve those ambitions, while competing robustly in domestic action, should be welcomed.

In other news, Celtic transfer target Fraser Forster is set to be axed by Southampton this summer.