Celtic Football Club fans snubbed warnings from the club over brandishing “political messages and banners” at matches to show support for Palestinians as the bombardment of the Gaza Strip continues.
Huge numbers of supporters held up Palestine fans prior to their Scottish Premiership clash with Kilmarnock, with the Green Brigades Ultras holding up ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘Victory to the Resistance’ banners at the match.
According to reports, similar displays are also planned for Tuesday night’s Champions League match against Atletico Madrid.
The club has insisted that they “disassociate” with the flags and reinforced the message that “political messages and banners are not welcome at Celtic Park”.
“Banners displayed in a section of Celtic Park prior to Saturday’s game do not represent the views of Celtic Football Club and we disassociate ourselves from them. We condemn the display of such messages at Celtic Park,” they said.
“Celtic is a football club and not a political organisation. One of our core values from inception is to be open to all regardless of race, colour, politics or creed.
“That is why the club has always made clear that political messages and banners are not welcome at Celtic Park, or any match involving Celtic.
“At a time of loss and suffering for many, it is entirely inappropriate for any group of individuals to use Celtic Park as a vehicle for such messages.
“We call on all supporters, regardless of their personal views, to unite in backing our players and the club while respecting the rights and beliefs of others; particularly those whose lives are affected by violence and hatred.”
However, in response to their statement, the Celtic Supporters’ Association have claimed that they “have the right to express political views on the terraces”.
In a statement of their own, the supporters’ group said: “Following a recent Celtic PLC statement we would like to reiterate our unshakeable belief that we, and other football supporters, have the right to express political views on the terraces just as ordinary citizens do elsewhere in society.
“Football remains one of the few areas of public life where working class people have genuine political agency, and we will not be dictated to by an elitist board that has repeatedly demonstrated contempt for the history and traditions of Celtic Football Club.”