Celtic cleared by SPL over chants

By 05 December 2011 07:16

Scottish giants Celtic were cleared on Monday over claims their fans sang pro Irish Republican Army (IRA) songs at a Premier League match against Hibernian in late October.

However, while they got a clean bill of health from the SPL they face a hearing on Thursday by European football's governing body UEFA's control and disciplinary body on a charge of 'illicit chants' during the Europa League match with Rennes on November 3.

While the police had sparked the investigation by the SPL after they heard the chants at the Hibs game at Celtic Park the league announced their probe had determined that the club had taken all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of such "unacceptable conduct".

The charge that Celtic must answer to on Thursday relates to UEFA disciplinary regulation 11.2, namely: "the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, in particular if it is of a political, offensive or provocative nature".

Possible UEFA sanctions include a fine and ban on supporters, although Celtic could face a lesser punishment if found guilty as it would be deemed a first offence.

Celtic's Glasgow rivals, Rangers, have been punished on three occasions for "discriminatory" behaviour from their fans.

Celtic are a predominately Catholic club while Rangers fans are mainly Protestants. Both clubs have strong ties to Ireland, where the largely Catholic IRA once waged a terror campaign in its quest for Irish unity.

Source: AFP

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