Ajax fined £21,000 for banner at Celtic match

This banner was displayed by Ajax fans during the match at the Amsterdam ArenA. Picture: Contributed
This banner was displayed by Ajax fans during the match at the Amsterdam ArenA. Picture: Contributed
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Ajax have been fined e25,000 (£21,000) by Uefa after fans displayed an offensive banner at their Champions League home game against Celtic.

The Dutch club announced the sanction on their website and confirmed another case is ongoing concerning crowd trouble at the previous fixture in Glasgow.

The club’s statement read: “Ajax have been fined by Uefa after a banner appeared on the stands of the Amsterdam Arena during the match against Celtic FC. The banner was aimed at Ajax’s opponents that night. Uefa imposed a fine of e25,000.

“The possible penalty for such an offence is a fine of e50,000 plus the closure of some parts of the stadium at the next European home game. After a prompt and adequate response from Ajax the fine was halved and the partial closure averted.

“The penalty will be recovered from those responsible. Another case is in process arising from disturbances during Ajax’s match against Celtic FC in Glasgow. A ruling is expected to follow on Thursday, 21 November.”

The banner carried the offensive slogan “fenian bastards” and appeared in the same area of the ground as flags pertaining to the “F-Side” hooligan group of Ajax fans.

Meanwhile, Barcelona director Toni Freixa is confident Celtic’s Champions League group rivals have the quality to cope with the loss of superstar forward Lionel Messi to injury.

Messi could be sidelined until 2014 after suffering his latest hamstring injury during Sunday’s Primera Division match at Real Betis, with Barca’s medical team estimating he will be out for between six and eight weeks. Losing the four-time reigning World Player of the Year is a blow, but while Freixa concedes Barca obviously depend on the Argentina ace to a certain extent, they are better placed to deal with his absence now than in previous years.

Freixa, the Barca board spokesman and club secretary, said: “The team is always ‘Messi-dependent’ because it’s impossible not to be with the best player in the world. People talk about it like it’s something bad but it’s a good thing. We’ve improved this weakness now. The team have other resources and it is performing at a great level.”

Barca, who signed Brazil forward Neymar in the summer, are still unbeaten under new coach Gerardo Martino this season and boast a three-point lead at the top of La Liga and are also through to the Champions League knockout stages with two games to spare.