Celtic have been accused of acting “vindictively” by the Green Brigade supporters’ group after announcing a partial closure of their stadium for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Rennes.
The Green Brigade has claimed its ticket allocation is being withheld for all games until further notice.
Celtic announced a partial closure of their safe-standing section for this week’s game after being hit with a fourth UEFA charge this season, claiming they had to “tackle any behaviour which can compromise the safety of our supporters including the use of pyrotechnics, overcrowding and offensive chanting or banners”.
The Green Brigade response, which was posted on social media, claimed there had been a “breakdown of trust” between the group and the club after banners earlier in the season criticised the board over its transfer policy.
The statement added: “Throughout our near 15-season existence, we have always accepted responsibility for our actions and ramifications where justified and proportionate.
“We know that the use of pyrotechnics may bring consequences therefore accept the inevitable sanctions for using it. We regret that any fans outside of our membership should suffer those consequences and point to that being disproportionate and unnecessary.
“To implement sanctions at three days’ notice highlights a blatant disregard for the considerable expense and arrangements some fans undertake to support Celtic.
“Considering we met with the club last week to discuss potential sanctions specifically against our group, the timing and scope of this decision is particularly vindictive.
“That it comes two days before an AGM expected to skirt by fan-led issues like ‘Resolution 12’ serves further cynicism as to its motives.”
The group claimed pyrotechnics were “incredibly popular” with “significant swathes” of Celtic fans and insisted they used them with “total regard for safety”, arguing there should be engagement over use of the items, which are banned in Scottish football grounds.
The group argued it had done everything it could to combat overcrowding in its section and claimed punishing its members for offensive chants against Lazio was unfair when “tens of thousands” joined in.
The ultras group highlighted the funds raised for refugee charities in Glasgow and Rome and its foodbank collection on Saturday and called for the club to reconsider their position.
The statement added: “As the team strives for a historic nine – and then 10 – in a row, we would rather not be engaged in this negative narrative.
“Our aim, as always, is to positively support Celtic and following Thursday we hope to get back to that.
“However, omitted from the club statement is the fact that all Green Brigade tickets for all upcoming fixtures are being withheld until further notice – including the upcoming League Cup final and potentially as far as to the Glasgow derby at the end of the year.
“We hope that the club will reconsider this position and re-engage with fans in a meaningful manner.”
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