Celtic clarify Lawwell’s ‘republicanism’ comments

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CELTIC have been forced to “clarify” comments made by chief executive Peter Lawwell at a press conference to launch a new kit deal with Boston-based firm New Balance.

During the event at Celtic Park on Thursday, Lawwell was quizzed about the possible consequences of the Offensive Behaviour Act, where fans identifying with Irish republicanism inside a sports stadium risk committing a criminal offence.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila, New Balance Football general manager Richard Wright and Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell at Celtic Park. Picture: PA/JSHPix.co.uk

Celtic manager Ronny Deila, New Balance Football general manager Richard Wright and Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell at Celtic Park. Picture: PA/JSHPix.co.uk

In response, Lawwell sought to distance Celtic from “the small minority and their chants we’d rather were not here”.

He added: “I do not accept that Irish republicanism is anywhere in Celtic history.

“I do not recognise Celtic being associated with sectarianism.

“I do not recognise Celtic being associated with Irish republicanism.

“This is a club that since 1888 has welcomed everyone and has been diverse and open to all.

“People who promote proscribed terrorist organisations will not be welcome at Celtic Park - that has been the case forever and will always be the case,” he continued.

Later the same day, the club issued a statement on their Twitter feed, to “clarify” Lawwell’s earlier comments: “Peter Lawwell is well aware and proud of Celtic’s history and the club’s Irish roots. To clarify any misunderstanding, Peter’s comments related to the longstanding position of the Club.

“People who promote proscribed terrorist organisations are not welcome at Celtic.”

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