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Barcelona to appeal UEFA fine over estelada flags

Barcelona have vowed to appeal UEFA's decision to give the Catalans a €150,000 fine for displaying estelada flags during Champions League matches in 2015-16.

The Spanish champions' fans showed the estelada flags - an unofficial flag typically flown by Catalan separatists to express their support for an independent Catalonia - on more than one occasion throughout the 2015-16 campaign.

UEFA, however, considers the banner to be a form of ideological, political and religious propaganda, which is forbidden by European football's governing body, and therefore slapped Barcelona with a fine.

The Camp Nou side feel displaying estelada flags falls under the freedom of expression, though, and are ready to take legal action.

"Barcelona announce that the club has received notice of the sanction imposed by the UEFA Disciplinary Committee following the display of estelada flags at the Camp Nou at Champions League matches in the 2015-16 season," a statement on the club's official website reads.

"The club has been handed a €150,000 fine, of which €50,000 is suspended if the events are not repeated in the next two years. 

"The club will appeal this sanction and will take all legal measures in order for the punishment to be revoked.

"Barcelona consider the punishment to be totally unjust and against the exercise of the freedom of expression."