sport

Celtic to learn UEFA sanction

Celtic will find out today what action UEFA will take against the club following the Green Brigade's Bobby Sands banner.

UEFA's control and disciplinary body met on Wednesday after opening disciplinary proceedings over an "illicit banner", with the outcome to be announced on Friday.

The banner - displayed in the UEFA Champions League match with AC Milan - showed images of IRA hunger striker Sands and Scottish nationalist icon William Wallace along with a set of words that included the line: 'The terrorist or the dreamer?'

UEFA rules do not allow messages of a political and ideological nature to be displayed in a stadium.

The supporters' group responsible for the banners, the Green Brigade, insisted they were football-related as they were designed to protest against the Scottish Government's Offensive Behaviour at Football Act and Police Scotland's implementation of the legislation, which it claims has criminalised expressions of Irish politics.

But Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell demanded supporters leave their political views at home after UEFA announced the action.

And manager Neil Lennon admitted his "heart sank" when he saw the display, arguing it was neither the time nor place for such a demonstration.

The club have since moved to separate the group at Parkhead after a number of seats were vandalised in the section containing Green Brigade members, and pyrotechnics were let off and thrown on the pitch when Celtic beat Motherwell at Fir Park last Friday night.

The club handed "precautionary suspensions" to 128 supporters preventing them from attending home and away matches, while 250 season ticket-holders housed in section 111 - the Green Brigade's corner of Celtic Park - will be moved to other parts of the ground or given refunds on season tickets.

Police made five arrests on Thursday over the Motherwell disturbances.