October 26 – Hundreds of Celtic fans defied their own club’s request and paraded a giant display of Palestinian flags before their Champions League game against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
The so-called Green Brigade previously said they would hand out the flags ahead of the game and did exactly that despite the club explicitly urging supporters not to bring them into the ground. A sea of flags covered one whole section of the stadium as the match kicked off.
The Green Brigade had already been criticised for displaying pro-Palestine banners during a match against Kilmarnock a fortnight ago, which took place just hours after a deadly attack by Hamas militants on Israel. Pro-Palestine banners have long been seen amongst Celtic’s supporters.
UEFA, which notoriously cracks down political statements, seem certain to sanction Celtic, probably with a fine.
In its plea to supporters earlier on Wednesday, a Celtic statement said: “We have witnessed death, violence and destruction in the Holy Land in recent weeks, with thousands of people – men, women and children – killed, injured and displaced. We are witnessing a tragedy of horrendous scale. As it continues, everyone at Celtic prays for all who have been affected.”
“The club recognizes that our supporters hold personal views to which everyone is entitled. As a club open to all, we all belong at Celtic Park.
“Celtic Park is where we come to support our football club. Recognizing this, respecting the gravity of the tragedy unfolding and its impact on communities in Scotland and across the world, and in line with other clubs, leagues and associations, we ask that banners, flags and symbols relating to the conflict and those countries involved in it are not displayed at Celtic Park at this time.”
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