Barcelona to appeal UEFA fine

Madrid, July 27 (IANS) FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed that the club will appeal against the 30,000 euros fine imposed on the club last week by Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

Although UEFA praised the “exemplary” behaviour and excellent atmosphere that Barcelona’s supporters helped to create in the final of last season’s Champions League in Berlin, they nevertheless fined the club as some sections of supporters displayed the pro-Catalan independence flag during the game, reports Xinhua.

Despite the flag not being illegal, UEFA punished Barcelona under their rule 16.2 which states “clubs and associations are responsible for the inappropriate behaviour of their supporters and can be the object of disciplinary measures, even though they can show they were not negligent in their organisation of the game”.

The rule also prohibits “the use of words or objects to transmit and message which does not fit in with sport, such as political, religion, or offensive or provocative words”.

Responding to the decision from the club’s base in Washington DC as they complete their tour of the United States, Bartomeu said Barcelona had “always defended freedom of expression and had never forbidden its club members to express their ideas and feelings in a peaceful manner, be it in our stadium or on the trips they make to accompany our players”.

“Barcelona does not agree with the UEFA sanction and will ask for the case to be looked at again. We will support our fans and we are true to the spirit of freedom of expressing, which has characterised this club since it was founded 115 years ago,” he said.

Spain international defender Gerard Pique also criticised the sanction. “It is unfair and I hope the club takes action. I don’t think we have done anything wrong, but we all know how these things work,” he said.

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