Celtic left divided as furious fan group blasts club’s ‘elitist board’ and slam their ‘hypocrisy’ over political messaging at Parkhead after the Scottish champions quickly distanced themselves from pro-Palestine banners in the stands last week

Celtic have issued a statement condemning the use of ‘political messages and banners’ at matches after fans held up banners in support of Palestine.

Prior to their Scottish Premiership clash with Kilmarnock, ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘Victory to the Resistance’ banners were held up by the Green Brigade Ultras at Celtic Park.

The movement has been met with mixed reaction – with former Celtic player Nir Bitton labelling supporters as ‘brainwashed’ on Sunday afternoon.

The protests come after Hamas launched thousands of rockets into Israel as their fighters stormed over the border in the biggest incursion for decades.

Reports say 300 civilians have been killed in Israel with dozens taken hostage, while retaliatory attacks by Israeli forces have killed 313 in the Gaza Strip.

Celtic supporters held up banners that read ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘Victory to the Resistance’ after Hamas militants launched raids on Israeli territory on Saturday

The club have since distanced themselves from the situation via a statement on their website

The club have since distanced themselves from the situation via a statement on their website

In response to the banners, Celtic have insisted that they ‘disassociate’ with the flags and insisted 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.

Celtic Supporters Association released a statement on their website in rebuttal to the club

Celtic Supporters Association released a statement on their website in rebuttal to the club

‘Celtic was born out of famine and oppression, a product of colonial rule, death and the mass displacement of people. It is because of this history that Celtic fans are renowned for their empathy and solidarity, consistently siding with the oppressed and destitute. 

‘This fact is not lost on the PLC as it regularly flirts with the idea, particularly where it can be commodified yet the board are quick to condemn when the views expressed challenge their worldview disingenuously then proclaiming to be apolitical. The current hypocrisy of the PLC is sadly in step with much of the political and media class, epitomised through the example of Ukraine. 

‘Political messaging was welcome at Celtic Park then; yet it is being condemned now. The question on any reasonable mind should be why? Why are Ukrainian lives more sacred than Palestinian lives?

‘The Green Brigade remains unequivocal in our support for the Palestinian people, as we have been consistently. We have supported various Palestinian projects throughout our history and for over a decade have developed a close relationship with Aida Refugee Camp culminating in the formation of the Aida Celtic football academy in Bethlehem. 

‘We send our sincere solidarity and prayers to our friends across all of Palestine at this traumatic time when yet again much of the international community turns its back in cowardice while war crimes are inflicted on a largely defenceless imprisoned population.

‘We call on the Celtic support – the true custodians of Celtic Football Club – to stand on the right side of history. In 2016, we defiantly raised the flag and matched the fine for Palestine. Now, more than ever, the Palestinian people need our solidarity.

Celtic fans have often shown support for Palestine in the past, with the country's flag a regular fixture at their matches

Celtic fans have often shown support for Palestine in the past, with the country’s flag a regular fixture at their matches

‘On 25th October, v Atletico Madrid, we ask 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. 

‘We must apply learning from apartheid South Africa to dismantle apartheid Israel – if we are neutral in situations of injustice, we have chosen the side of the oppressor. In the meantime, we encourage fans to donate to the MAP Gaza Emergency Fund’.

In 2021, Celtic hit out at ‘unacceptable’ behaviour by fan group The Green Brigade after they put out a fan display in support of Palestine. 

Officials encouraged the fan group to lay out shirts, scarves and flags inside Parkhead ahead of captain Scott Brown’s final Celtic game at home.

And, in 2016, UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Celtic after supporters displayed Palestine flags during their Champions League qualifier against Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva. 


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