UEFA probes Barca over independence flags

UEFA has opened a disciplinary proceeding against Barcelona over the use of pro-Catalan independence flags during the Spanish giant’s Champions League final win against Juventus last month.

“A disciplinary proceeding has been opened against FC Barcelona for illicit banner use and chanting,” a UEFA spokesman told AFP in an e-mail. “The case will be decided during the next control, ethics and disciplinary meeting on July 23,” he added.

UEFA rules band the use of “symbols, actions of songs that are not within the context of a sports event, especially messages of a political, ideological, religious, offensive and provocative nature.”

Barcelona face a stiff fine and partial stadium closure if found to have violated UEFA rules. During the 3-1 win over Juventus in Berlin on June 6 the club’s supporters displayed red and yellow Catalan separatist flags from the stands and chanted slogans in favour of independence for the wealthy northeastern region of Spain.

Barcelona will appeal UEFA’s decision, citing respect for freedom of expression of its supporters, a club spokesman said.


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