Celtic Football Club is seeking to settle legal claims over historic sexual abuse, lawyers for alleged victims have said.
Solicitors acting on behalf of 20 former youth players for Celtic Boys Club who were targeted by Jim Torbett and Frank Cairney said the Premiership champions have not admitted liability for the abuse, but are “exploring the possibility of a settlement”.
The club previously said it was not responsible because the boys club was an “entirely separate” entity, but a judge greenlit a US-style “class action” group lawsuit earlier this year.
The Boys Club, while not an official part of Celtic FC, was established in the 1960s as a feeder team and shared close ties including coaches and officials.
A hearing for the group litigation had been scheduled for October at the Court of Session, but Thompsons Solictors say parties will now ask for that to be adjourned until individual cases are valued.
In a statement, the firm said: “Thompsons Solicitors are pleased to confirm that Celtic Plc have indicated their intention to enter settlement negotiations within the context of the Celtic Group Proceedings Litigation.
“This litigation relates to cases of historical abuse at Celtic Boys Club by convicted paedophiles, James Torbett and Frank Cairney.
“Celtic PLC have not formally admitted liability or made any other formal concessions but their desire to now enter negotiations to explore the possibility of a settlement of this action has been made clear.
“This means that parties will ask the Court to adjourn the forthcoming proof to allow work to be undertaken to value individual cases.
“We appreciate that there has been significant public interest in this action and hope that this comment clarifies the current situation.”
On Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for Celtic Football Club said: “Celtic Football Club has always taken allegations regarding abuse at Celtic Boys’ Club extremely seriously. Celtic Football Club and their lawyers have made strenuous efforts to investigate these matters and they continue to do so.
“Celtic’s lawyers continue to investigate and discuss these cases with the lawyers acting for those who suffered abuse at Celtic Boys’ Club. Those discussions are ongoing. It would not be appropriate for Celtic Football Club to comment any further while there are ongoing legal proceedings.”