CEO admits 'mistake'
Lawwell apologises for Celtic’s Dubai trip
Peter Lawwell: ‘clearly a mistake’ (pic: SNS Group)
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has said he regrets the club’s controversial training trip to Dubai.
Lawwell responded to public outrage over the issue to say “clearly it was a mistake” and one for which they “profoundly apologise”.
Neil Lennon and his squad returned from training in the Middle East on Friday, with Christopher Jullien subsequently testing positive for Covid-19.
As a result, Lennon, assistant John Kennedy, and 13 players had to isolate and missed Monday night’s league match against Hibernian, the 1-1 draw leaving the champions 21 points behind Rangers in their quest for an historic 10th title in a row.
The club has been under fire over its decision to travel to Dubai in the middle of heightened travel restrictions across the UK.
“The outcome was clearly very regrettable,” Lawwell told CelticTV.
“On refection, looking back and looking with hindsight and looking at the outcome of the trip, clearly it was a mistake and for that I profoundly apologise to our supporters.
“This horrific pandemic has affected the whole of society. It’s affected people here in Scotland, it’s affected our supporters and it’s affected our club – probably our club more than any.”
Jullien is the fifth Celtic player to test positive for Covid-19, with David Turnbull, Odsonne Edouard, Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed previously contracting the virus while on international duty.
Photos emerged of members of the Celtic party not distancing or wearing face coverings, and Kennedy said they give a “bleak” but “false” impression.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Monday urged Celtic to “reflect seriously” on events that have led to the recent outbreak.
Lawwell added: “Clearly the landscape has changed significantly – particularly in the run-up to us going – in terms of the infection rate.
“Our protocols were robust, they’re proven, and that’s what we put in place for the Dubai trip.
“Overall, the decision to go was for the right reasons – it was performance – and of course the outcome of that has been really disappointing.
“I do understand how people are questioning the decision to go.”