Celtic: Uefa delays Green Brigade banner decision

Celtic were informed yesterday that they will have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to find out what action Uefa will take against the club following the Green Brigade’s controversial Bobby Sands banner.

The Green Brigade with one of their banners. Their display at Celtic's game with Milan could land the club in trouble. File photo: TSPL

Uefa’s control and disciplinary body was due to meet yesterday after the governing body opened disciplinary proceedings over an “illicit banner”, but the meeting has now been put back to tomorrow while the committee works through a backlog of cases.

The banner – which was unfurled during the 3-0 home defeat by AC Milan on 26 November – showed images of IRA hunger striker Sands and Scottish nationalist icon William Wallace along with a set of lyrics that included the line: “The terrorist or the dreamer?”

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A spokesman from the Uefa media department said: “The disciplinary decision is due to be announced and communicated by Uefa on Friday afternoon. We will inform of the decision as soon as we receive it from our disciplinary unit.”

Uefa rules prohibit messages of a political and ideological nature being displayed in a stadium.

The supporters’ group responsible for the banners, the Green Brigade, insisted they were football-related as they were designed to protest against the Scottish Government’s Offensive Behaviour at Football Act and Police Scotland’s implementation of the legislation, which they claim has criminalised expressions of Irish politics.

But Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell demanded supporters leave their political views at home after Uefa announced the action.

And manager Neil Lennon admitted his “heart sank” when he saw the display, arguing it was not the time nor place for such a demonstration.

The club have since moved to separate the group at Parkhead after a number of seats were vandalised in the section containing Green Brigade members, and pyrotechnics were let off and thrown on the pitch when Celtic beat Motherwell at Fir Park on Friday night.

Earlier this week, the club handed “precautionary suspensions” to 128 supporters, preventing them from attending home and away matches.

It also announced that 250 season ticket-holders housed in section 111 – the Green Brigade’s corner of Celtic Park – will be moved to other parts of the ground or given refunds on season tickets.