20 July 2017
DUP MP Gregory Campbell has said Celtic and UEFA need to take decisive action following the latest display of banners celebrating terrorism at the club’s Champions League match against Linfield.
DUP Spokesman on International Development and Cabinet Office
At the game in Celtic Park banners were displayed, including one depicting an IRA terrorist, another with Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers shown inside a version of the notorious “Sniper at Work” sign which was used in South Armagh during the Troubles, and the words “Brendan’s undefeated army”.
It was reported in December that the club had been taken to task by UEFA on numerous occasions in the past five years due to the behaviour of some of their fans. Previous incidents during Champions League matches have included displaying a banner depicting IRA terrorist Bobby Sands, pro-IRA chanting, waving Palestinian flags whilst playing against Israeli team Hapoel Be’er Sheva, crowd disturbances and setting off fireworks and flares.
Commenting the East Londonderry MP said, “Once again a small section of Celtic supporters were engaged in the glorification of terrorism and deliberately provocative behaviour. The display of a banner depicting an IRA terrorist and another equating their manager Brendan Rodgers to an IRA sniper cannot be excused. I am sure Brendan Rodgers would not wish to be associated with this behaviour.
There is a section of Celtic fans who are serial offenders when it comes to this behaviour. Given the sheer number of such offences it is time that UEFA took decisive action because it appears that the club is not prepared to do so. There needs to be a financial sanction greater than the income from the game in order to deter these so called fans. Given UEFA issued fines to all four home nations for the display of a neutral, non-political symbol such as the poppy it would be beyond belief if they did not take severe action when supporters display terrorist symbols.
Celtic must do more than just issue criticisms of the fans. It is time they lanced the boil once and for all. Despite repeated comments by the club there does not appear to have been decisive action taken to end this kind of behaviour. If it is, as the club states, always a very small number of people involved then it should be very straightforward with CCTV for them to stamp it out."