Love for Palestine! Celtic fans raise over $130,000 for charities

The Celtic fans described the raising of the Palestinian flags as an ‘act of solidarity.’ (File photo: Reuters)

Supporters of a Scottish football club have raised over £100,000 ($130,000) for Palestinian charities after UEFA fined the club for displaying Palestinian flags during last week’s match against an Israeli team.

The Green Brigade, who describe themselves as Ultra fans of Scotland’s Celtic Football Club, set up a campaign to raise funds for charities in Palestine after the European football’s governing body began disciplinary proceedings against the Glasgow club after fans displayed the flags during their 5-2 home victory against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in a Champions League qualifier.

The hashtag 'match the fine for Palestine' quickly circulated on Twitter with the Celtic fans, drawing widespread support, with many criticizing UEFA's decision to charge the Scottish champions.

‘Act of solidarity’

The Celtic fans described the raising of the Palestinian flags as an “act of solidarity” and consider UEFA’s fine as a “petty and politically partisan act.”

The funds raised are to be split between Medical Aid Palestine (MAP) which delivers health and medical care to those “worst affected by conflict, occupation and displacement” and the Lajee Centre in Bethlehem, a cultural and sports project for children in Aida refugee camp.

Medical Aid Palestine hailed the Celtic support for their generosity, sending “a huge ‘thank you’ for the generous support of all of those who have donated to the 'match the fine for Palestine' crowd funder.”

Lajee Centre also posted a one-minute clip on the video sharing website YouTube showing Palestinian youth thanking the Green Brigade.

In a statement posted on the fundraising page, the organizers stated that the money raised would help buy football kits and equipment to enable the refugee camp to have a team, which would be called Aida Celtic, in the Bethlehem youth league, as well as extending arts and dance programs in Aida refugee camp.

Israel’s warning

In response to the incident during the game last week, Israeli police have warned against provocation at the upcoming match on Wednesday night between Celtic and the Israeli team Hapoel Be’er Sheva, British daily The Guardian reported on Tuesday.

A police spokesman said any attempt to wave Palestinian flags at Hapoel’s stadium will not be tolerated.

Around 250 Celtic fans are expected at the match, which will decide what team goes through to the next stage of the Champions League.

Ninth punishment

The hearing about the fine is expected to be heard next month – making it the club’s ninth punishment from UEFA for supporter behavior in five years.

Two years ago, the club was fined over £15,000 ($19781) after a Palestinian flag was displayed at a Champions League qualifier against Icelandic team KR Reykjavik.

According to UEFA rules, “gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”, are forbidden.

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Last Update: 06:47 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
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