Celtic fans are set to defy the club after it released a statement asking supporters not bring any banners to Parkhead relating to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
The club released a strong statement regarding the hostilities between Israel and Hamas on Wednesday, and asked that any flags and symbols relating to the war and those involved are not displayed at Celtic Park.
However, the Green Brigade will distribute Palestinian flags outside the stadium ahead of the club’s Champions League group stage match against Atletico Madrid.
It comes as the club and fan group are locked in a feud after the Green Brigade was banned from away matches following a number of pro-Palestine displays at recent matches.
A statement released by the group said the sanctions it faced were “motivated by a desire to quash political expression within the Celtic support”.
The statement added: “In spite of this, and any further obstruction, we once again encourage fans to courageously fly the flag for Palestine.
“For those unable to obtain a flag, the Green Brigade will distribute thousands of flags outside the stadium. While it would be easier to distribute flags inside, we are prohibited from bringing the flags into the stadium.”
Celtic fans, particularly the Green Brigade, have displayed a support for the Palestinian cause with flag displays on a number of occasions, most recently at Tynecastle on Sunday.
The club said that it recognises that while supporters hold “personal views”, they respect the gravity of the tragedy and have asked that all banners are not displayed in line with other clubs.
It is expected the club will receive a fine from UEFA if the display goes ahead.
The full statement read: “We have witnessed death, violence and destruction in the Holy Land in recent weeks, with thousands of people – men, women and children – killed, injured and displaced.
“We are witnessing a tragedy of horrendous scale. As it continues, everyone at Celtic prays for all who have been affected.
“We also hope and pray for peace, and for humanitarian support to reach those who are in need and in fear.
“Many of our colleagues, supporters, friends and families have been affected by these events.
“Against this backdrop of conflict and pain, sport can promote peace and demonstrate humanity and empathy for all who continue to suffer.
“For the Club’s UEFA Champions League match against Atletico Madrid this evening, Celtic and Atletico Madrid players and coaching staff will wear black armbands, as a show of respect and support for all those affected by the conflict.
“The Club is also making a contribution to the International Committee of the Red Cross to support people affected by the humanitarian crisis in the region.
“The Club recognises that our supporters hold personal views to which everyone is entitled. As a club open to all, we all belong at Celtic Park.
“Celtic Park is where we come to support our football club. Recognising this, respecting the gravity of the tragedy unfolding and its impact on communities in Scotland and across the world, and in line with other clubs, leagues and associations, we ask that banners, flags and symbols relating to the conflict and those countries involved in it are not displayed at Celtic Park at this time.
“As we approach this crucial fixture, as ever, we sincerely thank our fans for their positive support of the players and the team.
“We thank you very much for your continued support of Celtic Football Club.”
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