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St Johnstone and Legia Warsaw fined by UEFA

Legia Warsaw fans display the giant banner, taking a swipe at UEFA. Picture: Reuters

Legia Warsaw fans display the giant banner, taking a swipe at UEFA. Picture: Reuters

  • by MASSIMO MARZOCCHI
 

ST JOHNSTONE are reeling after being handed a €18,000 (£14,230) fine after a fan waved a Palestinian flag, while Legia Warsaw have been hit by a UEFA charge over a banner attacking the governing body and Celtic

The Polish side fielded an ineligible player in the final minutes of their 2-0 win over the Glasgow side at Murrayfield. Uefa awarded Celtic a 3-0 win, allowing them to progress on away goals to the play-off round, where they lost to NK Maribor.

Fans of the Polish champions displayed a large image of a pig imposed on a Uefa badge and the slogan “Because Football Doesn’t Matter, Money Does.”

The banner, surrounded by lit flares, was shown before Legia’s Europa League play-off victory against Aktobe of Kazakhstan last Thursday.

Uefa rules prohibit messages of a political and ideological

nature being displayed in any football stadium.

Uefa said its disciplinary panel will judge the case on Thursday and potential sanctions could be applied when Legia open their Europa League group campaign at home to Belgian side Lokeren on 18 September.

After Uefa’s ruling on the Celtic game, the Court of Arbitration for Sport denied Legia’s urgent appeal to be reinstated. It has still to consider the club’s request for compensation from Uefa for lost earnings.

St Johnstone were charged after a fan displayed a Palestinian flag at one of their Europa League games.

The Uefa match delegate spotted the banner being waved in the east stand during the 2-1 defeat by Spartak Trnava at McDiarmid Park.

A St Johnstone spokesman said: “We have been told by Uefa that we’ve been fined €18,000 for the display of a Palestinian flag and pro-Palestine chanting at our game with Spartak

Trnava.

“We’ve asked them for a written judgement on this and are waiting for it to arrive.

“Obviously it’s disappointing that this has happened but we need to see what the actual case is before commenting further.”

The fine was handed out by the same Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Committee which will hear Legia’s case this week.

Irish side Dundalk have already indicated they intend to challenge an identical €18,000 fine after Palestinian flags were shown at their Europa League tie against Croatians Hajduk Split.

Reports in Ireland claimed Dundalk were stunned by the severity of the fine and have sought advice from the Football Association of Ireland over an appeal.

Celtic have previously been fined €50,000 (£42,000) for a huge fans’ banner depicting IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands and Scots warrior William Wallace, which was shown at a home Champions League match against AC Milan last year.

It is the third time in four seasons that Legia have faced Uefa punishment.

The governing body responded to fans’ racist behaviour by closing a section of Legia’s stadium at a Champions League play-off last season.

At a home Europa League match against Hapoel Tel Aviv three years ago, fans displayed a “Jihad Legia” banner in Arabic-style script across one end of the stadium.

 

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