Soccer team could be punished over PLO flags

UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Celtic after some of its supporters waved PLO flags during a match against Hapoel Be'er Sheva.

Elad Benari, Canada,

Celtic vs. Hapoel Be'er Sheva
Celtic vs. Hapoel Be'er Sheva
Reuters

The Union of European Football (UEFA) has opened disciplinary proceedings against Glasgow’s Celtic Football Club, after some Celtic supporters waved Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags during their Champions League qualifier against Israel’s Hapoel Be'er Sheva earlier this week.

A statement on UEFA's official website quoted by Sky News on Friday confirmed the "illicit banner" charges, which pertain to Article 16 (2) of the UEFA disciplinary regulations.

Dozens of PLO flags were displayed during Celtic's 5-2 first-leg win on Wednesday, many of them in the new safe standing section at Parkhead, according to Sky News.

The team has been punished eight times in five seasons by the European governing body for supporter misconduct and face further sanctions when the case is dealt with on September 22.

One of those punishments came two years ago, when the team was fined about £16,000 after a PLO 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".

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was non-committal when asked Friday about possible UEFA sanctions.

"I leave that to the club. They have obviously, probably, had issues over a number of years with certain aspects of that,” he told Sky News, adding, "But it is nothing for me. I am looking forward to the second leg and going to Israel. I have never been there. It is a beautiful country, good people.”

"I have worked with a number of Israeli players and they are always respectful so I am looking forward to the game," added Rodgers.

Last year, UEFA considered punitive actions against the Belgian Charleroi soccer team, after Charleroi fans taunted Beitar Jerusalem fans during a game with Nazi salutes and anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli chants.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)




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