CELTIC striker John Guidetti has been found guilty by an SFA Judicial Panel of making a comment of an offensive nature towards Rangers.
The Swedish international avoided a fine or suspension for his breach of SFA rules and was instead censured by the panel.
Guidetti was cited by SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan for singing a song which refers to Rangers as “huns” during an interview with Dutch television programme FC Rijnmond in March.
Asked to recite the lyrics of a song the Celtic support have sung about him this season, the 23-year-old sang: “Oh John Guidetti, puts the ball in the net-y, he’s a Super Swede and the huns are deid, walking in Guidetti wonderland.”
The “huns are deid” line is a mocking reference to Rangers’ financial collapse and liquidation in 2012. Supporters of the Ibrox club regard the term“hun” as sectarian and some of them have campaigned to have it recognised as such.
Under SFA disciplinary guidelines, Guidetti could have faced a two-match suspension for breaching rule 73 which deals with “making comments of an offensive nature”.
I think when you play for Celtic, or any high-profile club, you have to be very careful about what you do off the park.Kris Commons
Celtic offered their full backing to a defence of their on-loan Manchester City player at yesterday’s Hampden hearing which they believed should not have taken place at all.
“We are very surprised and disappointed that this has even found its way to an SFA judicial panel,” said a Celtic spokesman when Guidetti was initially issued with the notice of complaint by McGlennan.
Speaking yesterday before the verdict was announced, Guidetti’s team-mate Kris Commons insisted the Celtic players did not regard the incident as significant when it occurred in March.
“We didn’t really mention anything, it wasn’t even an issue,” said Commons. “It’s something between John and the club.
“We have more important things to concentrate on, we were still talking about the treble and winning the league so things that happen off the field just kind of go over our head and we concentrate on the football side of things.
“I think when you play for Celtic, or any high-profile club, you have to be very careful about what you do off the park, but that’s not anything new.
“When you sign for a high-profile club you’ve got to be wary of what you say, tweet, text and do in press conferences. You will have a backlash if you do anything wrong and I think that’s just part and parcel with being a professional footballer.”
The final word, meanwhile, in the saga of Celtic’s controversial Champions League qualifier against Legia Warsaw earlier this season was delivered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland yesterday.
Legia were pursuing a claim for around £1.3 million in compensation from Uefa for their expulsion from the tournament for fielding an ineligible player in the second leg of their 6-1 aggregate win over Celtic in the third qualifying round.
Bartosz Bereszynski made a late appearance as a substitute in the match at Murrayfield in August but he was not deemed to have served a three-match ban – despite sitting out three European games – as the Polish champions had not listed him as suspended in their squad for the previous round.
Celtic were awarded a 3-0 second-leg victory by Uefa’s control and disciplinary body and went through on the away goals rule, but were subsequently beaten by Maribor of Slovenia in the play-off round and failed to make the group stages.
Legia failed in an appeal to Uefa and also had a bid to be provisionally reinstated in the Champions League qualifiers rejected by CAS. They have now lost their claim for compensation after CAS dismissed their argument that Uefa’s rules were overly bureaucratic and that the sanction was disproportionate.
A statement from the court read: “The CAS panel found that Uefa’s requirement that only listed players can serve pending suspensions did not constitute excessive formalism and that it was compulsory for the club to list the player in order for him to serve his suspension. The panel further found that Legia Warsaw’s violation of this requirement constituted a disciplinary infringement justifying the imposition of a disciplinary sanction, and that Uefa’s decision to declare the club’s match against Celtic FC to be lost by forfeit was not disproportionate.”