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UEFA charges Celtic over fans' paramilitary banner

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA opened a second wave of charges against Celtic after fans raised a paramilitary-style banner at a Champions League game.

UEFA said Thursday a disciplinary case relating to an "illicit banner" will be judged on July 28, ahead of announcing verdicts from the Scottish champion's previous game against Linfield of Northern Ireland.

The banner showing a masked soldier identified with Irish Republican imagery was shown by fans on Wednesday during Celtic's 4-0 win in Glasgow in a Champions League second qualifying round, second-leg game.

UEFA also announced charges against the Scottish champion for players wearing unregulated bibs in the pre-game warm-up and a crowd control issue.

Also Thursday, the UEFA disciplinary panel was judging charges against both clubs arising from the first leg last week. Celtic had won 2-0 in Belfast and advanced 6-0 on aggregate.

UEFA imposed a one-match ban on Celtic forward Leigh Griffiths for "provoking spectators" after the game in Belfast, during which he was a target for bottle-throwing home fans.

After Celtic's win last Friday at Windsor Park, Northern Ireland's national stadium, Griffiths took a scarf in Celtic's green and white colors and tied it to a goalpost. Linfield plays in the same blue and white as Celtic's city rival Rangers.

Griffiths had been shown a yellow card for time-wasting in the second half of the game. The Scotland forward delayed taking a corner to show the referee some missiles that narrowly missed him, including a glass bottle and several coins.

The first game in Belfast was moved back to Friday to avoid possible religious tensions with July 12 events in Northern Ireland commemorating a historic battle between Protestant and Catholic forces.

Celtic has long ties with the Catholic community and Linfield traditionally draws support from the Protestant community.

Griffiths will serve his ban when Celtic hosts Rosenborg in a third qualifying round, first-leg game next Wednesday.

UEFA ordered Linfield to close a section of the stadium when it plays its next home game in the Champions League or Europa League, and fined the club 10,000 euros ($11,600).

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