Supporters of Celtic football club, known as The Green Brigade raised more than £110,000 (US$144,000) and counting, as of Tuesday afternoon, in reaction to a fine from the Football European governing body, UEFA, over a Palestinian flag-waving incident last week.
Disciplinary proceedings against the UK club started after hundreds of fans displayed the occupied territory’s flag during a 5-2 victory against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva in Glasgow.
Supporters set up a crowdfunding appeal Sunday to match the anticipated fine of £15,000 (US$19,700), with the aim of donating the rest to Medical Aid Palestine, which delivers health assistance to “Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees,” as well as to the Lajee Centre, a youth centre for children living in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp.
— Mumshere (@notinmyname1994) August 23, 2016
Organizers of the appeal said they support Palestinians who live under Israeli occupation.
“This act of solidarity has earned Celtic respect and acclaim throughout the world,” a statement on the fund-raising page read. “It has also attracted a disciplinary charge from UEFA, which deems the Palestinian flag to be an ‘illicit banner.’
“In response to this petty and politically partisan act by European football’s governing body, we are determined to make a positive contribution to the game and today launch a campaign to #MatchtheFineforPalestine,” the message added.
Fundraisers said the money will be used to buy equipment and football kits for children in the camp to have a team, which would be called “Aida Celtic.”
This is so beautiful. Celtic fans last night during the match against an Israeli team! Free Palestine ✌🏼️🇵🇸❤️ pic.twitter.com/SQ60zMZfWy
— صايل (@SayeelPali) August 18, 2016
The UEFA fine is the ninth punishment for fans in the last five years. The club was fined more than £15,000 in a similar incident when Celtic played KR Reykjavik in 2014.
UEFA rules forbid the use of “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.”
However, fans at Tuesday night’s “return leg” to be played in Israel will be allowed to fly Israeli flags, despite its own long political and ideological legacy.
Celtic’s case is due to be heard on September 22.