CELTIC have been hit with a fine of 10,000€ by governing body UEFA as a result of the Palestinian flag display at the Champions League qualifier at Celtic Park against the Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva on August 5.
UEFA, for reasons known only to themselves, regard the national flag of Palestine as being “illicit” but seem to nothing wrong with any other national flag.
UEFA have taken the view that these Palestine flags are “illicit banners” under Art. 16 (2) of their Disciplinary Regulations.
The size of this UEFA fine is tiny compared to the amounts raised by Celtic supporters group the Green Brigade, who began an online campaign to match the fine with the sums raised being earmarked for Palestinian charities.
This became an international story and donations to the gofundme page is currently sitting at around 200,000€ in UEFA money.
Celtic defeated Hapoel Be’er Sheva 5-4 on aggregate and progressed to the Champions League Group Stages, where they can expect to earn around 50,000,000€.
Last night the Scottish Champions held their own in an exciting 3-3 draw with a Manchester City side assembled at a cost of around 500,000,000€.
Celtic supporters were praised by both managers with Brendan Rodgers describing the support as his 12th man.
UEFA will pay Celtic around 500,000€ in UEFA money for securing a point.
And if that was a good point earned by Celtic, it was also a point well made by the Green Brigade.
UEFA’s Respect campaign is somewhat confusing in the context of their approach to Palestine.
Celtic have now been punished nine times in five seasons by UEFA for their supporters’ behaviour, including a fine of around 20,000€ two years ago after a Palestine flag was displayed at a Champions League qualifier against KR Reykjavik.
The UEFA rule in question forbids the use of “gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”
The Parkhead side’s old foes Legia Warsaw have been hit an even more severe punishment after picking up an 80,000€ fine by UEFA.
They will now have to play a match behind closed doors after a host of charges following their clash with Borussia Dortmund earlier this month.
The Polish champions were hit with six different charges including racist behaviour, crowd disturbances and setting off fireworks.