Glasgow City Council hires Celtic Park for various events
The local authority has paid nearly £140,000 to host events at Parkhead stadium over the last five years – more than three times the figure they’ve paid to use Hampden. The council has hired out part of the stadium 22 times while Ibrox has never been used. The national football stadium, Hampden, has been used seven times.
The events related to either the education or social work departments at the local authority. The council said it would always explore internal options to host learning and teaching development conferences and events, but due to the large number of staff and partners across the city that attend, it must hire venues that have the capacity to accommodate large numbers.
Celtic Park offers a range of facilities for events
According to the Celtic website, the biggest venue is the Kerrydale Suite in the Jock Stein Stand. It has a capacity for 600 people and is described as “perfect for a wide range of large-scale events from Conferences to gala dinners”. The website also boasts of other features such as:
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
- State-of-the-art audio-visual equipment
- Dedicated event manager
- Award-winning catering
The highest spend by the council was £12,270 on an Early Years Conference at Celtic Park just before lockdown in 2020. More recently, the council paid £11,270 on a digital conference in October last year at Parkhead.
Ibrox Stadium has not been used by the council
The council has not hired out Ibrox Stadium, the home of Celtic’s rivals Rangers, for any events in the last five years. The reason for this is not clear, but it could be due to availability, cost, or preference.
Ibrox Stadium also offers a range of facilities for events, such as Edmiston House, which can hold 700 people and opened earlier this year. The website also claims that Ibrox Stadium is “one of Scotland’s most accessible venues” with “excellent transport links”.
Hampden Park has been used less frequently by the council
The national football stadium, Hampden Park, has been used by the council seven times in the last five years, with a total spend of £39,000. The most recent event was a social work conference in February 2020, which cost £6,000.
Hampden Park lists 30 spaces for hire with the largest holding 1,000 people. The website also says that Hampden Park is “a unique and prestigious venue that can cater for any event”.
The council defends its use of external venues
A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “External venues will only be booked if there are no suitable council buildings that have the capacity and space that meet the requirements of the event or conference. This is due to the large numbers of staff and partners who attend.”
The spokeswoman also said that the council gives consideration to a range of factors when choosing a venue, such as availability, capacity, and facilities.
The council’s use of external venues has raised some questions about its spending priorities and transparency. Some critics have suggested that the council should use its own buildings or public spaces more often, or disclose more details about its contracts with private venues.