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UEFA probing Celtic for Palestinian flags at Hapoel match

Club could be told to close one of its stands over behavior of fans at Glasgow game; hearing to take place next month

Celtic fans display Palestinian flags during match with Hapoel Beersheba in Glasgow, August 17, 2016. (Screenshot)
Celtic fans display Palestinian flags during match with Hapoel Beersheba in Glasgow, August 17, 2016. (Screenshot)

The European soccer’s ruling body UEFA is to hold an investigation into Scotland’s Celtic soccer club, after its fans waved hundreds of Palestinian flags during a Champions League game in Glasgow against Israeli team Hapoel Beersheba on Wednesday.

UEFA’s regulations ban “any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature,” the BBC said Friday.

According to the BBC, Celtic has been penalized eight times in five seasons for poor behavior by its fans.

Scotland’s Daily Record news website said UEFA will hear the case on September 22, and Celtic could be forced to close one of its stands if the governing body decides to take a hard stance over the incident.

Fans displayed the flags in the stadium despite a ban by officials. Scottish police had also urged supporters not to bring in the Palestinian flags, under threat of arrest, the Daily Record reported.

During the game, organizers of the group Palestine Alliance handed out flyers about the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, which Palestinians call the Nakba, or “catastrophe.”

The move by the Celtic supporters was hailed by Palestinian Twitter users and activists online.

https://twitter.com/WaladShami/status/766061632179015680

Celtic went on to defeat Hapoel by five goals to two. The teams are set to play against each other again next week.

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