Potential Linfield v Celtic tie moved to July 14 over security concerns
A Belfast clash between Linfield and Celtic has been pencilled in for July 14 – avoiding the security nightmare of a powderkeg eve-of-Twelfth tie. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/potential-linfield-v-celtic-tie-moved-to-july-14-over-security-concerns-35856883.html
A Belfast clash between Linfield and Celtic has been pencilled in for July 14 – avoiding the security nightmare of a powderkeg eve-of-Twelfth tie. The Friday evening fixture, which would have a 5pm kick-off, was provisionally agreed after a high-level meeting yesterday.
It came after the Belfast Telegraph reported how the PSNI had stepped in to veto a proposed July 11 match. The sides are on course to meet for the first time in a Champions League qualifier – provided Linfield overcome La Fiorita from San Marino. But the prospect of Celtic coming to Windsor Park, and all the emotion that goes with it, has been front and back page news since Monday’s draw.
Even Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill got caught up in the excitement yesterday. Speaking on a visit to Belfast, he said: “We should note it’s a game that is only a possible game at this moment in time, but the Celtic tie is a huge carrot for Linfield to get beyond the San Marino side.
“I go back to when I was manager of (League of Ireland club) Shamrock Rovers in Europe and we had a game against an Israeli team, and the carrot for us was to play Juventus if we beat them and we got through the tie.
“That was brilliant and it would be the same for Linfield to play a massive club like Celtic in the Champions League.
“I think the Linfield players would enjoy the media attention that would come with it and I think it will be a great game if it comes to fruition.”
As long as Linfield overcome La Fiorita in their first-round clash, they will face the Scottish champions in a two-legged qualifier. They had been scheduled to play the home leg in Belfast on either July 11 or 12, but the prospect of a high-risk football match at the height of the marching season alarmed the PSNI.
Senior officers quickly ruled out staging it on either date. A meeting between officials from both clubs and police was held yesterday, with the July 14 date being fixed. Discussions were ongoing last night on whether Celtic would take up their allocation of tickets for a match in Belfast . It is understood Linfield are happy to have away fans at the game, and would accept tickets for the return tie in Glasgow, if it happens.
Celtic were represented at the meeting yesterday by their head of security Ronnie Hawthorn. Also present were Linfield chairman Roy McGivern and representatives from the PSNI and Police Scotland. Sources said July 12 had been ruled out from the start . July 11 was also deemed impossible .
Alternative dates of July 10 and July 13 were discussed, but both were also considered problematic. Eventually July 14 was settled on, with the 5pm kick-off a police decision. Mr McGivern said: “I’m pleased that both clubs and all parties have worked together to reach an amicable solution and we would host the first leg in Belfast as drawn.”
If the tie goes ahead, Linfield stand to make around 1 million.
They have already been assured of live TV coverage, with BT Sport one of three broadcasters interested in securing the rights . Adding intrigue is the fact that Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is from Co Antrim . Also, Linfield boss David Healy played for the Bhoys’ bitter rivals Rangers during his career.
See Sport back page
The Prime Minister has said security at mosques across Britain will be reviewed after a van was driven into a crowd of Muslim worshippers in the latest terror attack to hit Britain. Theresa May called the attack “every bit as sickening as those that have come before”. She chaired a meeting of the emergency COBRA committee at Downing Street and later visited Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, near the site of the attack, meeting with community and faith leaders. The Metropolitan Police said there will be more uniformed officers at places of worship, including mosques and Muslim community centres, as they try to reassure local people. Speaking outside Number 10, Mrs May said the terrorist attack1 “targeted the ordinary and the innocent going about their daily lives”. “Today we come together as we have done before to condemn this act and to state once again that hatred and evil of this kind will never succeed,” she added. Mrs May said security was being stepped up.
“Extra police resources have already been deployed to reassure communities, and police will continue to assess the security needs of mosques and provide any additional resources needed,” she said.
The Government last summer announced a fund devoted to the security of places of worship, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said. “We have made available 2.5m,” she told Sky News. “I recently announced who would be getting those additional funds, which included 12 mosques, and actually I have reopened it recently to make sure that any additional place of worship that feels the need can apply for extra security.”
The attack happened shortly after midnight, when a man drove a van into a crowd of worshippers outside the mosque, injuring 10 people and leaving one dead. A 47-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and terror offences. It is the fourth terror attack since March in the country, and the third to involve a vehicle deliberately driven at pedestrians.
Image: The scene as Mrs May visited the mosque
It comes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. For the Prime Minister, it comes at a difficult time, following her disastrous election gamble and the Grenfell Tower fire, in which dozens of people died. Hers and the Government’s response to the blaze was widely criticised for lacking empathy . Mrs May did not meet any survivors when she first visited the scene of the fire, and was heckled when she returned a day later. Mrs May is fighting for her survival2 amid rumours a leadership challenge might be imminent.
Image: Communities Secretary Sajid Javid says the Government will fight ‘anti-Muslim hate crime’
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid also visited the scene, and, outside the police cordon, comforted a woman who was visibly shaking. Mr Javid said: “I want to reassure both the local Muslim community, but also Muslims across the United Kingdom, that they will always have the full support of this government in fighting anti-Muslim hate crime.” Jeremy Corbyn, who lives near the site of the attack, expressed “absolute shock”.
After meeting with faith leaders at Finsbury Park Mosque, the Labour leader called the attack “an act of terror against a wholly innocent community who were coming out of prayers and walking home on the street next to where I live”.
“I am of course critical of cuts made to the police service, I make no criticism of the police behaviour or reaction last night.”
The review is being conducted in partnership with the research company Pye Tait, and will look at all aspects of the scheme. Your participation in this review is important because this is your opportunity to shape the future of the ACS and ensure it remains relevant for the private security industry in the years ahead. The review will include:
- Benefits – A review of the benefits that the scheme can bring to its members
- Recognition – Ensure ACS members get proper recognition for meeting high standards
- A new standard – ensure that the new standard remains fit for purpose and reflects emerging best practice
- Scheme operation ensuring that the assessment process, customer service and how the scheme works are fair and efficient
Tony Holyland, Head of Quality and Standards, said:
The ACS scheme has transformed the industry and we want it to continue to drive up standards. The ACS review will ensure the scheme continues to be relevant and reflects new thinking and emerging best practice for security businesses. We want to hear from all stakeholders from across the industry; ACS companies, non-ACS companies and buyers of security. We want to know what you think should change and this review is an opportunity for the industry to shape the future of the scheme.
The results of the ACS review will help to identify ways in which the SIA can drive improvement in the private security industry – and, crucially, allow ACS businesses to differentiate themselves within the market. It is important that ACS businesses get commercial benefit for meeting high standards, and the review will look at how best to give buyers even greater confidence in the scheme. Ensuring that as many stakeholders as possible take part in the scheme will ensure that the ACS is value to the industry, buyers and the wider community.
To take part in the review, please complete this survey. The survey will take 10 to 15 minutes. Your views will be treated in confidence by Pye Tait Consulting, and reported anonymously to the SIA.
- The Approved Contractor Scheme is voluntary and exists to raise performance standards. To be an Approved Contractor a business needs to meet a sector-specific approval based on a relevant set of qualifying criteria that is independently assessed.
- You can find out more by visiting the ACS Review portal: www.pyetait.com/ACSReview
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.
The SIA’s main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk.