UEFA and Celtic are reacting in unison to pro-Irish Republican Army banners unveiled by the club’s fans at Tuesday’s Champions League match against Milan. There, in the section occupied by the Green Brigade supporters group, tifo equating IRA activist Bobby Sands with Scottish revolutionary William Wallace was unveiled during Tuesday’s pre-mathc ceremonies.
“The terrorist or the dreamer,” the display asks, individual lyrics appearing around large portraits of Wallace and Sands. “The savage or the brave? Depends whose vote you’re trying to catch or whose face you’re trying to save.”
According to reports from the United Kingdom, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has “demanded fans leave their political views at home,” noting the actions of a few have landed the club in hot water with UEFA:
“Last night was nothing more than clear disrespect for the club and our supporters, who now face another Uefa charge … 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 …
“Regardless of the political views people hold, football stadia, whether it is Celtic Park or anywhere else, should not be used to promote these …
“The club don’t want it, our manager and our team don’t want it, our supporters don’t want it and the football authorities don’t want it – it has to stop.”
According to the report, Celtic face a potential fine for what UEFA’s called an “illicit banner.”
Celtic lost the match, 3-0, ending their chances to reach Champions League’s knockout round or qualify for Europe League.