05 Mar Lawwell condemns ‘minority’ of Celtic fans
The Hoops have been fined by Uefa six times in just over three years and face further sanctions for their behaviour in the Europa League last-32 match against Inter.
Currently clubs only have to prove they took preventative measures to discourage sectarian, racist or other behaviour but SPFL are set to review the rules this month.
Lawwell, though, says the club would be against introducing ‘strict liability’ to domestic football – which punishes the club for fans’ indiscretions.
“I wouldn’t bring it in at all. I think it is strict and can be seen to go against justice as opposed to supporting it. We as a club would be against it,” he said, on the unveiling of Celtic’s new kit partner New Balance.
“If you come to Celtic Park for an event, there is no offensive behaviour, the crowd behave impeccably, so you have to put it into context and for Celtic we find any problem is immaterial, a small problem. We are comfortable.
“It is concerning because it allows Celtic’s name to be slurred but there is a context that is missed. You can’t look at two people and condemn a football club.
“If you looked around Europe that night I am sure there would have been 100 misdemeanours that night.
“We are concerned about it because it gives unneccessary and unwarranted bad publicity to Celtic for a very small minority and that is the extent about it.”
The Hoops chief executive also insisted there was no Irish Republicanism in the club’s history.
“I don’t accept that Irish Republicanism is anywhere in Celtic’s history. We have a very small minority who have chants that we would rather not be here. Whether or not that is people who wish to have an Irish Republican identity is another matter. It is a complicated issue
“People who promote a proscribed terrorist organisation are not welcome at Celtic Park and that has been the case forever and it will always be the case.
“But you have to put this into context. This is a very very small minority. It is not at Celtic Park.
“If there is a problem it is a very small minority of the away support that we are dealing with.
“If you put that into the context of other matters and other situations, hopefully you will agree it is immaterial.”