Now Celtic FC Ltd is involved in a case in the Court of Session!

Today has been awash with stories about Rangers and its finances etc.

However, that has not stopped me reading the court lists as usual, and today finding another interesting looking case.

The Calling List has as one of the cases the following:-

Celtic FC Ltd, Celtic Park, Glasgow AG Ross John Connolly…, Glasgow

Celtic FC Ltd is represented by Harper MacLeod, Solicitors. Interestingly that same firm acts for Craig Whyte in the court action being pursued against him by his estranged wife.

Some might be surprised by the same firm (I am sure not the same individual lawyer) acting for both Celtic and Mr Whyte. But, at the top levels of the legal profession, there are few firms with the reputation of Harper MacLeod.

Anyway, back to Mr Connolly.

I was looking to see if there was information to suggest Celtic was in dispute with a person of that name. What appeared was this linked Daily Record story. It suggests that this Mr Connolly who has been sued is the same man who, allegedly, assaulted a Celtic steward at the match in December against Udinese, when the steward tried to remove his offensive banner.

Why take him to court?

I suggest these possibilities.

1                    Having banned him for life, Celtic wants a formal court order to keep him away. That would be unnecessary, in my view. Celtic Park is private property and the Club can refuse entry to whomever it likes. Of course, there might be the added factor of actually having a court order against Mr Connolly, in the form of an interim and then a permanent interdict.

2                    Celtic may be pursuing him for payment of damages. This could be a pre-emptive strike on the basis that the Club will seek to recover disciplinary penalties levied on it because of Mr Connolly’s alleged actions. In addition, it may be that Celtic can attribute substantial costs already to Mr Connolly.

3                    The case will not be one for the steward who was allegedly assaulted. If he wishes to pursue a claim, then he could pursue Mr Connolly personally, or event, if it was felt that Celtic might, in some way, have failed in their legal duty of care to the steward, he could even pursue the Club.

4                    Most of all, I suspect that this is an example of being seen to be doing something. If Celtic, in legal terms, is seen to have done all it can to punish Mr Connolly and to prevent a repetition by him (by barring him from all Celtic games for life), then this might be seen to be to Celtic’s advantage when UEFA deals with the fallout from that game.

Celtic still has to attend the UEFA committee dealing with that match. They can however say that they are pursuing Mr Connolly for as much as the civil courts allow.

Messrs Levy & McRae, with a long track record of protecting Ibrox from closure due to the sectarian singing and chanting by some of the Rangers fans, took a twin track approach of full and frank apologies to UEFA, and statements of intent or actual action  taken as far as the miscreants went.

It might be that this is the best route down which to travel, and thus mitigate the penalties that might otherwise be applied.

I do not think it likely that the case of Celtic v Connolly will ever reach the stage of a contested court hearing. Celtic can leave that to its cross-city rivals.

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23 Comments

Filed under Celtic v Connolly, Civil Law, Courts, Football, UEFA

23 responses to “Now Celtic FC Ltd is involved in a case in the Court of Session!

  1. Celtic FC must be applauded by all in Scottish football for taking such a responsible approach to tackling this matter, I hope others take note :mrgreen:

  2. The Battered Bunnet

    Good spot again Paul, and a story that makes the Celtic support at large uneasy on a number of levels.

    Will watch progress with interest.

  3. TheBlackKnight

    Great spot Paul. Perhaps the cause of the delayed UEFA hearing?

    Celtic should, as is evident, be doing everything it can to remove this idiotic element from our support (if guilty and a supporter)

    • Boabie

      Did Celtic ever get round to removing the season ticket from the ‘upstanding member of the community’ who smashed Hugh Dallas’s windows?

      Answers on a postcard.

  4. I have wondered for a long time why football clubs have not gone down this route before. If a guest on my premises badly misbehaved and left me facing an angry neighbour who presented me with a bill for thousands of pounds, I’m pretty sure that I’d be hunting the culprit for damages.
    After the incident at the end of the Celtic victory over AC Milan, when a clown ran on to the field and prompted a UEFA disciplinary action, I argued strongly that the club had every right to pass the fine on to the one person who was responsible for incurring it. I still feel that.
    What I’ve never been so sure about is whether an individual shareholder would have the same right. Could it be argued that the share value of the club could be adversely affected by illegal actions by an individual which had the potential to impede the club’s successful operation?

    The most obvious example of that scenario that I can think of regarding Celtic would be the European Cup Winners Cup tie against Rapid Vienna in 1984. As a result of ONE bottle having been thrown onto the pitch during a game which Celtic were winning 3-0, the result was made void and Celtic subsequently failed to progress while their opponents went all the way to the final.
    Nor was that the end of the consequences. Celtic were not only fined for the offence but were punished further by having to play their next home European tie behind closed doors. Having drawn 1-1 in Spain against Athletico Madrid in the first leg, it is entirely reasonable to suggest that Celtic would have been very strong favourites to advance in the tournament if they had enjoyed the backing of tens of thousands of supporters in the return fixture.

    I would argue that the actions of a single supporter had the following consequences for the club;
    1 elimination from European competition in 1984
    2 elimination from European competition in 1985
    3 loss of reputation and prestige
    4 loss of gate receipts for the Athletico Madrid tie at Celtic Park
    5 potential loss of gate receipts for up to five European home ties in 1985 and 1986
    6 potential loss of share of gate receipts for two European finals (not as preposterous as it may seem given that Rapid Vienna reached the ECWC final after being hammered 3-0 by Celtic.)
    7 loss of very substantial revenues which could have been invested in the team
    8 consequent inability to retain key players at the club
    9 subsequent failure to dominate the domestic competitions
    10 a blemish on the club’s UEFA disciplinary record
    11 a UEFA fine of several thousand pounds.

    Why on earth have clubs not pursued miscreants through the civil courts as a matter of routine?

  5. Jeanette Findlay

    This is an appalling act of vindictiveness against a man whose name was handed to the baying dogs of the press before he even made it to the airport to come home and, more importantly, before he was found guilty of any charge or given an opportunity to give his side of the story to the club. The details of the ‘assault’ are, at this stage, very scant. As far as I am aware noone required any hospital treatment or indeed any medical treatment at all. If I am wrong in that then I apologise as I would never defend an unprovoked attack on a steward or anyone else for that matter. If your hypothesis is correct that this is about pandering to UEFA then it is even more disgusting behaviour. The Celtic that I want to follow should be challening UEFA in court over their draconian rules which give football fans even less right to free speech than the ordinary citizen, not spending the club’s money on expensive lawyers to batter an individual who, as I understand it, has already been subjected to the threat to his livelihood, his reputation and his safety. Whatever minor offence he has commited surely this is complete overkill and bullying?

    • Jeanette,

      Thank you for your post. As in all court actions, Mr Connolly has the chance to defend his position. The media reports following my post suggest that this is an interdict action to keep him away from Parkhead on pain of further proceedings for a breach.

      I think it is correct to say that Mr Connolly has alreday been banned from Parkhead for life. Celtic can say who they are prepared to admit, and who they are unwilling to let in. This is merely a method of making it clear to Mr Connolly that there are consequences for him breaking such an order, should the court grant one.

      As far as Celtic challenging UEFA in the courts, see where that got Sion!

      If the banner in question had been produced at Parkhead, for example, in former days it would have undoubtedly been a breach of the peace. Under present laws it would probably have been an offence of “threatening or abusive behaviour”.

      Under the forthcoming Offensive Behaviour etc Act it would be an offence as well.

      You are right that things can’t be said or done in football grounds that could be done elsewhere, but equally there are many things that can be done in football grounds that, for example, would never be tolerated in a workplace.

      I am on record in this blog as a trenchant critic of the new Act, but I do not see Mr Connolly’s case (and this is not me judging the matter either way) as in any way a good one to become the subject of a crusade.

      However, you are of course entitled to your differing opinion!

      • Johnnybhoy

        “Jeanette,

        Thank you for your post. As in all court actions, Mr Connolly has the chance to defend his position. ”

        This is all very well in a level playing field. Unfortunately, legal systems are built upon an ability to pay for, well, ability ( in most cases).
        I’m not defending idiotic actions, however, I fear the action by Celtic is not a path the club should be taking!

      • Jeanette Findlay

        Dear Paul

        I thought I would bring you an update on this case as I was roundly abused by some of the posters on this site when I objected to Celtic bringing a case to the Court of Session against Ross Connolly. Mr Connolly is not a member of the Celtic Trust and we don’t represent him. However, we were so concerned about Celtic’s action that we raised it with them. On the basis of that conversation I can tell your readers that Mr Connolly was not associated with the banner and Celtic do not allege that he was, therefore your own comments are not relevant regarding the nature of the alleged offence. Celtic do not have any evidence that Mr Connolly assaulted a steward and Mr Connolly denies that he did – his version of events is supported by other supporters who were actually there that night (as opposed to people on this site who found him guilty on the basis of absolutely nothing at all). Mr Connolly was denied justice on economic grounds in that he could not possibly afford to be represented in court and he was;, astonishingly, advised by a solicitor ‘just to ignore it’ . I assume that the solicitor meant he just had to accept it rather than that he should ignore the interdict. Mr Connolly has never been interviewed by Celtic or, at any point, been given a chance to tell his side of the story. Mr Connolly was not known to Celtic prior to this event except in so far as he was a season ticket holder with whom they had never had any problem. Perhaps some of your readers might have the good grace to now admit that they jumped on the bandwagon, driven by Celtic, without even taking the time to inform themselves of the facts of the case.

  6. Jack

    Wow…is Jeanette Findlay for real ?
    So its only an assault if someone if seriously maimed or injured ?
    How can she condone the actions of this guy and then complain when the club, for the first time, are seriously trying to lay down a marker telling all the idiots (like him !), that they will be subject to the force of the law ?
    So he obviously was holding the offensive banner and assaulted the steward (allegedly) for a laugh so thats all right then!
    Challenge UEFA and you could end up playing in a league of 1 with no European future. Look at what happened to Sion !
    Grow up !

  7. Cortes

    Let’s hope someone does a pro bono for Mr Connolly. Oppresive.

  8. Happydude

    IF you wonder why less people attend football games these days, I think you might have found your answer.

    The actions of Celtic FC are shameful, and in complete contradiction to the stated aims of the founders of the club.

    A shameful day for the club.

    • Jack Black

      So what’s the alternative ?

      Its on record from one Pat Nevin (I know ,I know) that he stopped taking his kids to Celtic Park because of the offensive behaviour he experienced there. Who’s to say that hundreds of other fans have not left due to the same reason ?

      Maybe thats what is contributing to falling attendances ? Have a think about it !

      Defending the eejit that leaves our club open to sanctions from the foorballing powers that be, is shameful.

      Obviously your interpretation of the stated aims of the founding fathers are diffrent from mine:-
      “Celtic was founded with the purpose of alleviating poverty in the East End of Glasgow by raising money for the charity Walfrid had instituted, the Poor Children’s Dinner Table”

      What part of that statement is relevant to the above legal case ?

      • Happydude

        All of it.

        The club was set up to help those who were in poverty.

        The actions of the club in 2012 are going to see it attempt to put one of its own supporters into poverty.

        As I said, an absolutely shameful way for Celtic to be ran.

  9. Thinking back, did Celtic take any action against the gentleman who ran on and “tapped” the AC Milan goal keeper?

    Perhaps someone in UEFA has mentioned that action must not just be taken, but be seen to be taken.

    Running on to the pitch, in the same way as carrying “offensive” banners and making “illegal” chants (and I know the definition of “illegal” is contentious) has gone the way of making jokes at airport checkin desks about explosives.

    It was never very funny, but everyone now knows that it must not be done without there being serious consequences for the “joker”.

    Mr Connolly’s situation is, it seems to me, analogous with the above.

  10. Really don’t understand why people don’t see why UEFA want to clamp down on offensive banners – I don’t think its some orwellian plan to dictate what can and can’t be thought or said, they are simply trying to ensure their media rights and revenues are protected.

    This banner was seen by millions people around the world, one of the most offensive swear words in the English language was broadcast into homes – free speech, Ms Findlay? I notice neither you or anyone else on this blog has written verbatim what was on the banner, so it’s not just the shrinking violets at UEFA that finds this word unacceptable. The banner was displayed in the end where one of the goals was scored and i think one of the tvclips I saw had the word pixellated out. If TV fims can’t show th clips, UEFA’s commercial interests may suffer.

    And as for Ms Findlay’s suggestion that action being taken against this person should be mitigated in some way because of the hardship’s he’s facing, well that’s like the old joke about the guy who killed his parentsbut asked for leniency on the grounds he was an orphan…

  11. smur

    Jeanette Findlay might to comment on the Poppy Day shame at Parkhead and lack of ANY action by Celtic Plc against the sectarian bigots who revelled and salivated in the deaths of their fellow citizens that day.

    Shame, shame, shame.

  12. smur

    To Jeanette the zealot – Poppy Day shame and a complete lack of ANY action by Celtic Plc against the sectarian bigots of the so-called Green Brigade who revelled and were seen to be salivating with joy at the deaths of their fellow British citizens. Is Lawwell really terrified of this IRA faction?

    • Kevin C

      “Salivating with joy”? – Dont be getting carried away with yourself.

      It was a dignified protest against numerous British military adventures. And against the politicisation of football.

      It would seem that 2 million opposing war in Iraq by marching in london are entitled to the right of protest. But Cetic supporters arent.

      Behave yourself.

  13. the war that was caused by the SCOTS and CELTS in the LABOUR party,who had “nothing” to do with dr kelly’s “death”.and “CELTIC” fans have never used a bomb or blown any pubs up,have they ???..”CELTIC” fans did more damage with one car bomb and killed more than 200000 rampaging rangers fans.and we english know this and wont be fooled by the CELTIC pr machine.lawell and desmond must be shitting themselves thinking of the future of celtic in a one team flyblown league…anyhow……”one green bottle standing on a wall”…you know how it ends….

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