Celtic fear UEFA action could close stadium
By James Black
Celtic could have to face Bayern Munich or Anderlecht in an empty stadium after a fan rushed onto the pitch and confronted Paris Saint-Germain’s wonder kid Kylian Mbappe during last night’s Champions League fixture between the clubs.
Late in the first-half, a fan ran half the length of the pitch before heading towards the on-loan PSG forward before attempting to kick the 18-year-old.
Stewards quickly removed the fan before he was arrested and appeared in court in Glasgow today where he pleaded guilty to assault, invading the pitch and behaviour likely to incite public disorder.
UEFA have opened disciplinary proceedings against the Scottish champions, as confirmed on their website, and the Hoops could face a twelfth sanction in only seven seasons.
Unlike domestic football in Scotland, UEFA operate a ‘strict-liability’ policy regards fan behaviour during continental competitions which allows UEFA’s disciplinary committee to sanction any offensive or inappropriate behaviour by supporters in or around stadia.
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UEFA’s sanctions can range from a censure for minor offences up to stadium closure for more serious offences or repeat offenders.
“It’s disappointing for any ground, any club, a supporter getting on to the pitch like that. It was bitterly disappointing and I’m sure the club will deal with that,” Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers later said, as quoted by The Telegraph.
“Whoever that person was it shouldn’t be anything we see, especially on a football field.
“I think the stewards dealt with it at the time and I’m sure the club will deal with it.
“The crowd and their reaction told you everything you needed to know.”
European football’s governing body has already received over £160,000 in fines from the Glasgow giants for a range of disciplinary offences but the latest could see part of their 60,000-capacity stadium closed for a future match.
Celtic’s supporters have already landed the club in hot water this season after displaying pro-IRA banners during the Champions League qualifier with Northern Irish champions Linfield, earning the club a £20,000 fine.
With UEFA’s disciplinary committee set to meet on October 19th, Celtic could face either Bayern Munich or Anderlecht with thousands of fans locked out or even in front of an empty stadium.
Paris Saint-Germain also face a UEFA hearing after seats were broken in the away end at Celtic Park.
Brendan Rodgers’ side will look to banish their Euro hangover this weekend when Ross County are the visitors to Celtic Park in the Scottish Premiership.
In other Celtic news, the club have launched a £1.5million bid to sign a midfielder from Premier League giants.