Questions raised as Celtic 'place U18 squad on furlough' in wake of first team's Dubai trip

Celtic have reportedly placed their entire under 18 squad on furlough, leading to further questions over the first team’s controversial trip to Dubai.

According to reports, Celtic have placed their Under 18 squad on furlough. Pic: SNS

The Parkhead club has been heavily criticised for travelling to the Gulf coast in the midst of tightening coronavirus restrictions, a trip which resulted in 16 players and staff being placed into self-isolation after defender Christopher Jullien tested positive for the virus upon returning to Glasgow.

It led to Celtic chief executive Peter Lawell issuing an apology to fans in a video released online.

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Now the financial aspects of the trip are under scrutiny after the club was reported to have made the decision to use the UK government retention scheme to furlough their Under 18 players in the wake of the expensive excursion abroad, which will see 80 per cent of their wages covered by the taxpayer.

Speaking to the Daily Mail on the condition of anonymity, one family member of an affected Celtic youngster questioned the club’s decision, saying: "People are struggling to understand why Celtic would go to Dubai during a pandemic and squander all that money on warm-weather training and then put young boys earning a fraction of the sum of the first-team players on the Government scheme. That doesn't seem right."

According to the report, Celtic's Under-18s manager Darren O'Dea informed 18 academy players they would be furloughed during a series of Zoom calls. Other Premiership clubs are expected to follow suit after all professional football beneath the SPFL Championship was suspended by Joint Response Group on Monday.

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