Sport Peter Lawwell raises Celtic title flag day hopes as he proposes July 'test event' friendly

01:50  01 july  2020
01:50  01 july  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Peter Lawwell wearing a suit and tie: Patrick McGuire hit out at Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell © SNS Group Patrick McGuire hit out at Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell

Peter Lawwell has called on the Scottish government to let fans back into football before the national game ends up in intensive care.

The Celtic chief confirmed Record Sport’s exclusives revealing how his club has joined forces with SRU bosses to set out an a plan which will allow the padlocks to come off at Parkhead and BT Murrayfield.

Lawwell revealed he hopes to run the first ‘test event’ before the end of this month and ahead of the SPFL’s big kick-off on August 1 in a bid to prove the new campaign doesn’t need to be played behind closed doors.

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Yesterday we revealed SRU chief operating officer Dominic McKay has been given a tentative green light from Holyrood to put on a trial run in front of around 1000 fans at Murrayfield on August 22, when the Pro-14 will restart with Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh clashing.

Peter Lawwell, Ian Bankier are posing for a picture © SNS Group

With fans returning to stadia all over Europe, Celtic hope to be given similar dispensation from parliament in a bid to prove supporters can be kept socially distanced and in a secure environment.

Speaking exclusively to Record Sport Lawwell said: “Nearly half of the nations in Europe are back playing with crowds so it’s a much more positive situation than it was just three or four weeks ago.

“We’re now seeing grounds in Denmark operating at 50 per cent capacity, Finland are up at 50 per cent and Holland hope to start on the first of September with 25 per cent. On the same day Denmark hope to get up to 100 per cent.

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“These are all great signs of the progress being made around Europe and, here in Scotland, we have been working with the SRU to show that we can do something similar.

“We thank them for their help and we are working towards hosting a test event in a pre-season friendly towards the end of July. We hope we can work in collaboration with the SRU and the Government to get it up and running.”

Cash-strapped clubs who feared they may have to play on for months behind closed doors will be paying keen interest to Celtic’s proposals.

As we revealed yesterday, Lawwell has not ruled out the hope that some Celtic fans could be inside the ground to see the unfurling of a ninth successive Premiership title flag on the new season’s opening weekend.

When asked if this was a realistic target he said: “I don’t think it’s impossible, definitely not. We’ll certainly be ready for it.

“Matchday revenue is absolutely vital for Scottish clubs due to the levels of our broadcast deals.

“It’s our main income, therefore if we don’t get crowds back as soon as possible then the effects of this pandemic will be even more strongly felt than they already have been.”

In a bizarre twist, government medical adviser Professor Jason Leitch performed something of a U-turn last night, although did leave the door ajar.

He said: “I think we’re saying pretty much no chance of crowds in August. I can’t imagine physically crowds in August or September but I might be wrong. With a fair wind we could get there.

“We might run test events in that two-month period, maybe a big match with a small test crowd.

“Either rugby or football or both. Then into autumn and winter we may be able to get back to physically-distanced crowds.”

Celtic friendly with PSG set to take place in front of fans as French superstars look for cup final blueprint .
5,000 fans will be permitted into the Parc des Princes but only home supporters are allowed. A total of 5,000 fans will be allowed into the 48,000 seater stadium, the same ground that the Parkhead club were trounced 7-1 in during a Champions League group stage game three years ago.

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