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A group of Celtic fans called the Green Brigade have been banned from home matches after what the club has described as “an increasingly serious escalation in unacceptable behaviours.”
What are the specific disagreements between Celtic and its most vocal supporters, who are the Green Brigade and what have they done to deserve a ban? Is there precedent for this in Glasgow and in UEFA competitions?
Here's everything you need to know on the Celtic fans ban at Celtic Park…
Who are the Green Brigade?
The Green Brigade are an ultras group of Celtic supporters known for impressive banner displays, tifos and incessant chanting. The group has its own section at Celtic Park, situated in the north curve.
As a supporters' group, the Green Brigade make their opinions clear on non-football issues, including their support of Palestine, the Black Lives Matter Movement and their opposition to the wearing of poppies around Remembrance Day.
Now, members of the Green Brigade have had their season tickets withdrawn by Celtic.
Why are Celtic fans banned?
Displaying Palestine flags
On 7 October, Celtic played Kilmarnock at Celtic Park, just hours after Hamas had attacked Israel. Banners in the Green Brigade section read ‘Free Palestine' and ‘Victory to the Resistance.' These banners were strongly condemned, including by a former-Celtic player. The Israeli midfielder Nir Bitton described the Brigade as “brainwashed” and claimed they have “zero clue about this conflict and you still act like you know everything.”
The Green Brigade then defied a request from their club to not display Palestine flags at the UEFA Champions League match against Atletico Madrid, which ended 2-2 in a thrilling fixture.
In response to the club's request, the Green Brigade said they have an “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.”
They then asked “all Celtic fans to raise the Palestine flag on the European stage and show the world that Celtic Football Club stands with the oppressed, not the oppressor.”
Some Palestine flags had been brought into Celtic Park before this fixture and, wary of disciplinary action from UEFA, Celtic asked the Green Brigade not to bring any flags associated with the Middle East conflict. Instead, an organised effort was made to support Palestine with a tifo in the Green Brigade section and flags dotted around the ground.
You might think any anti-fascist sentiment would be welcomed, but not in football where UEFA fined Celtic for the club's supporters' banner which apparently contained a “provocative message of an offensive nature” towards Lazio.
Pyro at Feyenoord
Celtic were also fined for the fans' pyrotechnic show in the away end against Feyenoord at Rotterdam's De Kuip stadium.
In addition to these three ‘major' incidents, the club have cited “rushing turnstiles” at Fir Park, fans who “illegally gained access” at the Lazio match, “unauthorised banners” at several games and ‘behaviour towards stewards'.