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Belfast Celtic Society deny links and explain concerns over Sport & Leisure Swifts renaming

The Belfast Celtic Society have announced their 'concern' over Sport & Leisure Swifts' intention to take on the name of the 'Grand Old Team'.

Earlier this month, the third-tier Irish League club announced that they are changing their name to Belfast Celtic Football Club, having taken the decision at the club's AGM.

Their statement said they would 'work closely with the Belfast Celtic Historical Society' to ensure a continuation of the ethos of the original club.

The Glen Road Heights side's manager Pat McAllister even went on to say that the Swifts had been initially approached by the Belfast Celtic Society

However, the Society have today released a statement outlining their 'concern' over the move.

The Society explicitly said that the company behind the new proposal is not the original Belfast Celtic Football and Athletic Club Ltd and that there are no links with the original team.

"The Belfast Celtic Society again reiterates that it has had no involvement in this venture," the statement said. "The society was only made aware of the development 48 hours before the public announcement.

"The Society was surprised by this announcement and the reaction received from both its membership and the general sporting public has been overwhelmingly negative."

The society also said that the players, families and supporters of the original Belfast Celtic had not been given a chance to make their feelings known on the venture and highlighted concerns that the move 'could potentially damage future football development prospects in west Belfast'.

The society's aim is to 'protect and preserve' the history of the original Belfast Celtic, which was dissolved in 1949 having won 14 Irish League titles and eight Irish Cups.

"While we understand the importance of keeping the name of Belfast Celtic in the public eye, it is imperative that this should be done in ways that are sustainable," the statement continued.

"The society believes that any initiative that could be perceived as a vehicle for opportunism and that exploits the good name of the club would be too much to bear."

Read the Belfast Celtic Society's full statement here:

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