UEFA open up disciplinary probe against Celtic over songs
Nov 12,2011 89 Comments
According to a report in this morning’s Scottish Sun, a senior Strathclyde Police officer approached UEFA delegates during the game to report alleged offensive behaviour by the Celtic fans.
An unnamed ‘club insider’ told the Scottish Sun: “Celtic could be in big trouble over this. UEFA can hand down heavy punishments. The club have already pleaded with fans to cut out IRA songs at matches but it looks like some won’t listen.”
City rivals Rangers copped a ban last season after they were found guilty of sectarian singing during their Europa League games against PSV Eindhoven. UEFA imposed a two match away ban on Rangers fans – one of which was suspended. The Ibrox side were also fined 40,000 euro (£35,558) by UEFA’s control and disciplinary body.
Rangers were also fined the same amount and ordered to play their next home UEFA match behind closed doors for the same offence in the home leg, although that punishment was also suspended for a probationary period of three years.
A UEFA spokesperson said: “We have opened a disciplinary case against Celtic.”
According to this morning’s report, the case will be heard on December 8th.
However the report this morning also claimed that, ‘if the allegations are found to be true the Hoops could be fined or their fans banned from European ties’.
Despite this claim by the Scottish Sun’s Robert McAulay, UEFA will not hand down a ban on fans for a first offence, given that Rangers were hauled in front of Europe’s governing body FOUR times over sectarian singing and chanting before copping a ban on fans. In 2006 Rangers were fined £13,000 for discriminatory chanting and £9,000 for an attack on Villarreal’s team bus. And the following year, UEFA demanded they pay £8,280 after a UEFA Cup tie against Osasuna after violent scenes. And In 2009 the club were fined £18,000 after a Champions League match against Unirea Urziceni in Romania.
If Celtic are indeed found guilty of singing sectarian or offensive songs, then the club will be handed a fine and given a warning about their fans future conduct.
Despite calls from the board, manager Neil Lennon and a number of other prominent Celtic fans to stop singing pro-IRA songs, elements of the support have ignored the calls.
A Celtic Park source told the Press Association: “This is quite unprecedented as no issues were raised to the club during the match and the police didn’t inform us directly about their concerns.”