Outrage as Celtic fans declined tickets for football clash in Belfast amid safety fears

Outrage as Celtic fans declined tickets for football clash in Belfast amid safety fears

CELTIC fans are outraged after Celtic FC declined the ticket allocation for their upcoming clash against Linfield in Belfast amidst 'safety fears.' 

The Glasgow team are due to face off with Linfield FC in a Champions League qualifier on July 14 at 5pm at Windsor Park in Belfast.

The game was originally scheduled for July 11, however the proximity to the Twelfth raised security concerns with both teams and the PSNI.

Following a meeting between the PSNI, Celtic FC and Linfield FC last week, the club announced that no tickets would be allocated to Celtic supporters.

A statement from the club said: "No tickets will be available for Celtic supporters for the match.

"The safety and security of all Celtic supporters travelling and attending matches is of paramount importance to the Club."

In a joint statement from Celtic fan groups Green Brigade and Celtic Trust, they said: "It is with deep disappointment that we note the board's decision to reject our ticket allocation for any potential UEFA Champions League qualifying match against Linfield in Belfast.

"The vague statement released by the board late on Friday afternoon did not contain any clear explanation of this decision – a decision made with no consultation at all with fan organisations, groups or regular European away travellers.

"We believe that the board is more concerned with protecting the brand than the welfare of the fans or the success of our team.

"It is a very sad and strange turn of events when the custodians of our own club do not want the world famous Celtic support backing the team in a ‘crucial’ away match yet the home club welcomes us with open arms."

The two groups then appealed to the Celtic board to reconsider its decision, or failing that, for Linfield to sell tickets directly Celtic supporters.

"Our away support has significant experience of dealing directly with host clubs in the distribution of domestic away match tickets and doing so again for the match in Belfast should be a straightforward process.

"This should be done in a fair, responsible and transparent manner and would avoid the scenario of ticketless Celtic fans accessing the home end, which may, in itself, lead to genuine safety concerns.

"Football without fans is nothing," they added.