Banners are damaging club, says Bhoys chief

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell demanded supporters leave their political views at home after Uefa began disciplinary action against the club over an “illicit banner”.

Celtic face a fine over a fans’ display which featured banners of Scottish historical figure William Wallace and IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands along with a set of lyrics during their 3-0 Champions League defeat by AC Milan on Tuesday night.

The banners, which were displayed in and around the section housed by the Green Brigade group of supporters, read: “The terrorist or the dreamer, the savage or the brave, depends whose vote you’re trying to catch or whose face you’re trying to save.”

The club vowed to ban any supporter involved in a political display as Lawwell insisted they were not welcome at Celtic Park.

“Last night (Tuesday) was nothing more than clear disrespect for the club and our supporters who now face another Uefa charge,” Lawwell said

“There have now been a number of Uefa charges made against the club during the last three years, relating to behaviour, displays and pyrotechnics – it cannot go on any further. Let’s be very clear. Following the actions of a small minority, these charges are made against the club.

“It is the reputation of Celtic, our great club and our great fans which is damaged, while others carry on indulging in such behaviour. Our supporters do not want this any more. We are a non-political organisation, a top football club in fantastic shape, aiming to play its part as a major football club on the European stage.

“Regardless of the political views people hold, football stadia, whether it is Celtic Park or anywhere else, should not be used to promote these. This is something which all football authorities, including Uefa, have stressed for some time and something well known by all supporters.

“The club don’t want it, our manager and our team don’t want it, our fans don’t want it and the football authorities don’t want it – it has to stop.”

A banner display at last Saturday’s Scottish Premiership clash against Aberdeen featured a large ‘H’ and the lines “they fought and died for their wee bit hill and glen”.

Uefa announced its control and disciplinary body would deal with the case on December 11 after confirming proceedings had been opened for “an incident of a non-sporting nature”.

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