Celtic to face 'class action' over Boys Club abuse

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Victims of historical abuse at Celtic Boys Club are planning to launch a "class action" against Celtic in one of the first cases of its kind in Scotland.

The US-style legal action could see the club face a multi-million pound damages claim.

About 25 people are involved in the bid for compensation.

Celtic said it was "continuing to deal with these sensitive matters" in conjunction with its advisers.

The club has always maintained it was separate from the Boys Club, which no longer exists.

A number of individuals have already been charged and sentenced for historical abuse at the Boys Club.

'Sincere sympathy'

This latest action aims to prove Celtic Football Club was responsible for the actions of those within the Boys Club.

A spokesman for the club said: "The club again expresses its sincere sympathy, regret and sorrow to those affected and reiterates that it will stand by its responsibilities, respecting the due process of the law."

Group proceedings were only brought in to Scots law last year. They allow groups of two or more people with the same, or similar, claims to raise a single action in the Court of Session.

In a public notice, Thompsons Solicitors, who are acting for the victims, has appealed for others who have not previously made a claim to come forward.

The law firm said the proceedings related to claims for compensation on behalf of those abused while playing football for Celtic Boys Club.

The group action now being faced by Celtic is only being made possible due to a change in the law last year.

This US-style approach allows alleged victims to use all combined evidence in one case - it's designed to cut the cost and time of what can often be an expensive and lengthy process.

A number of criminal cases have come before the courts and convictions have followed.

This time alleged victims want a judge to determine that Celtic Football Club and Celtic Boys club were so intrinsically linked, that the club should compensate those who suffered at the hands of the boys club.

If a judge does allow the action to be heard, there's no doubt it could be a landmark case.

Partner Patrick McGuire said: "As things stand, the group action will be taken forward on behalf of more than 20 claimants. Today, we began the process of raising that group action and what the court rules require is that we first serve a public notice to say that court proceedings will be commenced.

"Having spoken to our clients, it's perfectly clear there are more survivors out there."

Mr McGuire said all those involved in the group action had "suffered the worst abuse at the hands of paedophiles operating at the heart of Celtic Boys Club".

He added: "They have continued to suffer throughout their whole lives because of the abuse they've suffered and enough is enough. It's time that Celtic faced up to their responsibilities and pay each and every one of them the financial justice, the compensation to which they are entitled."

In 2019, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell hit back at "misconceptions" the club had been "doing nothing" following the abuse scandal at the Boys Club.