Brendan Rodgers fears Celtic ground ban could hit Euro chances
Brendan Rodgers has expressed his concern at the effect any degree of stadium closure would have on Celtic's prospects of making further progress in Europe this season.
Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Scottish champions after a supporter invaded the pitch and attempted to kick Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe during Tuesday night’s Champions League group stage game at Celtic Park.
It is the 15th time in the past decade that Celtic have been charged for various forms of supporter misconduct, incurring fines in excess of £230,000 in the process. The nature of the latest offence, which potentially placed a player’s safety at risk, has raised the prospect Uefa may impose a partial closure of Celtic Park for the club’s next home European game against Bayern Munich on 31 October.
The case will be heard by Uefa’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body in Nyon on 19 October and Celtic manager Rodgers hopes to avoid any scenario which would diminish the influence of his club’s home crowd on European nights.
“It would be [a concern] because it is certainly not something that we would want,” said Rodgers, who then referenced the closure of Celtic Park in 1985 for a Cup-Winners Cup tie against Atletico Madrid. It was imposed by Uefa because of crowd trouble during Celtic’s controversial tie with Rapid Vienna the previous season and, after drawing 1-1 in Madrid in the first leg, Celtic lost 2-1 in the return at a near-empty Parkhead.
“I was interested to read Peter Grant talking recently about that Atletico Madrid game,” said Rodgers. “They went away and got a result over there, then had to play in an empty stadium and ended up losing the tie.
“Our big advantage, when we are a million miles away from some other clubs in Europe in terms of financial support, is through the supporters. If we don’t have them then it could be difficult.”
Rodgers hopes Uefa will take account of the condemnation from the rest of the home fans of the pitch invader during the 5-0 defeat to PSG.
“The reaction in the ground at the time said it all,” he added. “They would have felt that and any Uefa official would have heard it too. It is something they might not look at but there will be a question asked.
“But Uefa know the goodwill around Celtic and Scottish football here and what has been achieved. The club are working very hard to ensure fan safety is in place and that Celtic Park is one of the great arenas for European football, despite some of the things that happen.”