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SOCIAL MISSION STATEMENT

Celtic Football Club is legendary and, as with most legends, as much myth as fact surrounds its history and what the club stands for today. The Social Mission Statement aims simply to define what the club stands for and seeks to promote within society.

History

Celtic Football Club was founded in 1888. Its principal founder was a Marist Brother named Walfrid. The Club had two principal aims:

  • The first was to raise funds to provide food for the poor of the East End of Glasgow, an area of the city that was greatly impoverished and had a very high rate of infant mortality.

     

  • Within the East End was a large Irish community and friction was growing between native Glaswegians and the new influx of Irish. Brother Walfrid saw the need for social integration and his vision was a football club that Scottish and Irish, Protestants and Catholics alike could support. A new football club would be a vehicle to bring the communities together and this was the second aim.

     

  • The Marist brother sought for the club to have both a Scottish and Irish identity and hence the club's name, Celtic, representing a bridge of cultures across the Irish sea.

     

Current Positioning of Celtic Football Club

Celtic Football Club is a Scottish football club with proud Irish links. The primary business of Celtic is as a football club. It is run on a professional business basis with no political agenda. However, the Club has a wider role and the responsibility of being a major Scottish social institution promoting health, well-being and social integration.

Who Is Celtic For?

Celtic is for people who want to support a football club that strives for excellence in Scotland and in Europe, is proud of its history, supportive of its local community and seeks to support the following aim:

"To maximise all opportunities to disassociate the Club from sectarianism and bigotry of any kind. To promote Celtic as a club for all people, regardless of sex, age, religion, race or ability."

Summary

Celtic is a club for everyone who believes in football as a medium for healthy pleasure, entertainment and social integration. The Club always has been and always will aim to be the team of the people.


Bhoys Against Bigotry

On the 10th January 1996, Celtic Football Club launched a campaign against bigotry. The highly publicised launch was backed by everyone at Celtic Park in Glasgow - the Directors, the Management, players and staff. Today the 'Bhoys Against Bigotry' campaign is still the subject of much debate.

The campaign against bigotry is a long term project and from the start the aim has been to clearly distinguish between peoples rights to their own cultural identity and bigotry.

Identity

Over the last 100 years, Celtic's connection has often been challenged and still is today by few, some are even prominent members of the Scottish media. Yet Celtic's connection to Ireland is a very positive one as shown in the club's Social Mission Statement.

The Marist Brother sought for the club to have both a Scottish and Irish identity and hence, the club's name, 'Celtic' came about, representing a bridge of cultures across the Irish sea.

The following words were well summed up by Celtic and Republic of Ireland international goal-keeping legend Pat Bonner when he said:

"It's great to see the people of Ireland striving for peace after so many years of sickening violence. I believe the link Celtic forms between Scotland and Ireland is a positive one and that it can once again become a vehicle for bringing Scottish and Irish, Catholics and Protestants together in harmony as was the aim of the club's founder Brother Walfrid. Celtic provides a valuable sense of identity for many Irish people living in Scotland. Let's make sure that as fans of Celtic we can only make our contribution towards the peace process by ensuring that bigotry has no hiding place at Celtic Park."

Irish Tri-colour

In 1951, Celtic was threatened with expulsion from Scottish football by the Scottish football authorities for flying the Irish tri-colour. Only with intervention from the club's greatest rivals, Rangers, who supported Celtic on this issue, did the powers relent and Celtic still flies the tri-colour today.

Celtic is proud of its joint Scottish and Irish identity and the principles the club was founded on. The Irish tri-colour flies as a fond reminder of the positive influence Brother Walfrid and many other Irish people have had on Scottish life.

Importantly, as the club has stated on many occasions, it views the colours of the tri-colour as standing for the white of peace between the orange and green communities of Ireland.

Action

Actions of course, always speak louder than words and the club has embarked on a wide range of initiatives to work its way along a long road against bigotry, examples being:

  • Celtic has set up a Charity Fund in keeping with the club's founding principles. One of the projects supported to date, is the Northern Ireland Childrens's Holiday Scheme which involves children from deprived areas, both Protestant and Catholic, being brought together for holidays and other leisure pursuits which now include trips to Celtic Park in Glasgow. The aim is for greater social integration.

     

  • The young people of today are an important area for Celtic to aim its campaign towards and encouragingly many Universities, Colleges and schools have built the subject into their study programmes and discussions are ongoing with the education authorities to develop this area further.

     

  • The club has strongly stated and supported the proud connection of the club's affinity with Ireland and encouraged songs such as 'The Fields of Athenry', a song intrinsically linked to the origins of the club. But importantly, the club has come out strongly against songs that refer to the IRA. Ferguas McCann, Managing Director, recently stated: "The club is well aware of the history of Ireland, however, reference to the promotion and romantic glamorisation of what is now a terrorist organisation will never be acceptable."

     

  • The club has also embarked upon an in-depth programme of encouraging greater involvement of ethnic minority groups as players and supporters of football. In the 1800's the minority group Celtic sought to help was the Irish. That hand of friendship is now being extended to other groups such as Scotland's growing Asian community, with coaching programmes, tours and disccussions at the stadium.

Conclusion

Of course, bigotry is a wider social issue than merely examples at football games, however, minority groups do use football as a medium for promoting their extreme political or religious views. Celtic, as a major social institution, has a responsibility to work against individuals or groups who seek to pollute football with behaviour that promotes bigotry and terrorism, we aim to do our best and respect the view of others.

The last words go to life-long supporter, Frank Miller, who wrote to say "We should rightly be aware and proud of our history. This, however, is no excuse for the mindless bigotry that quite frankly embarresses the majority of our fans", and Martin Luther King who said "I judge people by their own principles - not my own."

For further information on Bhoys Against Bigotry contact the Celtic PR Department:

Public Relations Department
Celtic Football Club
Celtic Park
Glasgow
G40 3RE

 

Note: the text for this page was taken from the official Celtic FC website and Celtic's Directory of Services. In January 1997 Celtic received a European Commission equality award for their work against bigotry.