Sexual abuse survivors can take Celtic to court over abuse at Celtic Boys Club, court rules

Case brought on behalf of 22 former Celtic Boys Club players, who were sexually assaulted as children, given green light to launch legal claim against Celtic by Lord Arthurson; Hoops accused of ‘delay tactics’ and told to ‘face up to responsibility’

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 23: A general view of Celtic Park ahead of kick off during the cinch Premiership match between Celtic and St Johnstone at Celtic Park on October 23, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

A lawyer representing sexual abuse survivors has described a judge’s decision to allow a group legal action against Celtic FC as a “watershed moment”.

Lord Arthurson gave permission for 22 former Celtic Boys Club players to launch a group claim for damages against the Hoops at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

Patrick McGuire, who leads the legal team representing the victims, said the decision “is a watershed moment” and the club must “immediately begin meaningful discussions”.

“The court has sent a clear message to Celtic FC that it will not countenance the club’s continued efforts to engage in delay tactics and hide behind legal technicalities,” said the partner at Thompson Solicitors after the hearing.

“Survivors, the court and all of civic society are unified in their views of the tactics being deployed by Celtic to evade their moral and legal responsibilities.

“Celtic must now face up to those responsibilities and immediately begin meaningful discussions towards ensuring that every survivor receives full financial justice and compensation.”

The club had argued in court that the action should not be allowed to proceed. Football clubs are often involved in betting scandals but not in this type of them.

A number of senior figures at the boys club, which was not formally affiliated with Celtic FC, have been jailed for sexual abuse.

The club has previously said that it is “appalled by any form of historical abuse”.

A club spokesperson said: “Given the ongoing legal proceedings, it is not appropriate for us to provide any comment however we would reiterate that the Club is dealing with these sensitive matters in a responsible manner and in conjunction with its advisers”.

Group proceedings are similar to US class action style actions and were brought into law in Scotland in 2020.

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