CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Linfield to seek legal route after UEFA fines from Celtic tie

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths shows the referee one of the items thrown on to the Windsor Park pitch last week in Belfast, an incident which has led to UEFA sanctions imposed on Linfield. Pic by Pacemaker.
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths shows the referee one of the items thrown on to the Windsor Park pitch last week in Belfast, an incident which has led to UEFA sanctions imposed on Linfield. Pic by Pacemaker.

Linfield officials have confirmed plans to “seek financial redress from any identified individuals through the civil courts” in the aftermath of UEFA sanctions following the Champions League tie with Celtic.

The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body confirmed a fine of 10,000 euros following incidents in Belfast last Friday during the first leg of the historic first competitive meeting between two of British football’s most successful clubs.

A statement released by Linfield late on Thursday night also described “frustration” shared with the “loyal and genuine supporters” at the “negative” situation and UEFA punishment.

“Linfield FC has received notification from UEFA of the following punishment, as a result of the actions of a tiny number of individuals at the recent Windsor Park Champions League game against Celtic,” confirmed the statement on the club’s official website. “1 - To order the partial closure of the Linfield FC stadium during the next (1) UEFA competition match in which Linfield FC would play as the host club, and in particular Linfield FC shall close section I of the South Stand lower part of the stadium.

“2 - To fine Linfield FC 10 000 euros.

“Linfield FC shares the frustration of the vast majority of our many loyal and genuine supporters who have been rightly appalled by this negative and unwelcome behaviour and the punitive sanction it has attracted.

“The club is cooperating fully with the PSNI over possible prosecutions and will seek financial redress from any identified individuals through the civil courts.”

Objects thrown on to the field, plus what the UEFA report described as “a field invasion by supporters”, cast an ugly shadow over the 2-0 win for Celtic and turned the spotlight in many quarters away from the impressive performance by Linfield’s players to the sporadic trouble from a small section within the home crowd.

The next European competition to take place at Windsor Park must now be played out with the lower tier of the South Stand closed off as part of the UEFA-imposed punishment.

Celtic have also finished both ties with a series of disciplinary measures as striker Leigh Griffiths was charged with “provoking spectators” for his decision to tie a club scarf to the Windsor Park goalposts.

Griffiths will serve his one-match suspension against Rosenborg and a charge of “improper conduct” was issued against the team due to the tally of five bookings, with Celtic fined 4,500 euros.

A forthcoming UEFA disciplinary hearing will take place to review the charge over three other incidents from the away leg this week in Glasgow relating to an illicit banner in the stands, blocked stairways and a kit infringement.