“Our guiding principle is that we will do what is in the best interests of Celtic Football Club and our supporters, consistent with upholding the interests and reputation of Scottish football.”
This is a very ambiguous statement.
However it is designed to look as if it were a clear indication of intent to reassure Celtic supporters that the club is closely monitoring the situation and is prepared to make tough decisions when the time is right.
Arguably, at one level, it is a clear indication of intent; it is a clear indication that the board will make a decision that is in the best interests of Celtic FC, its supporters and the rest of Scottish football.
But it does not reveal exactly how the board’s guiding principle will inform any decisions they go on to make, nor does it clarify exactly how that principle will be translated into a specific course of action based on these decisions.
No single football club can operate in splendid isolation. That is a fact.
There are commercial dependency relationships at so many levels throughout Scottish football that will be taken into consideration, in addition to the firm belief that sporting integrity must be restored. That is also a fact.
The decision will come down to how these facts are interpreted and how beneficial a particular interpretation is made to look by the relevant authorities.
It is one thing to say that a specific course of action is the right one to take, all things considered. It is another thing to say that a specific course of action is the right one to take, unconditionally.
Celtic’s statement suggests that the guiding principle may inform a decision of the former type.
Many people may be prepared to accept the necessity of this approach.
But many others will feel that this would be a subtle dilution of responsibility, whilst appearing to do the right thing by the rest of Scottish football.