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UEFA clears Rangers over national anthem but Celtic face action over banner

Celtic face disciplinary proceedings over a banner displayed at their Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk (Gavin McCafferty/PA)
Celtic face disciplinary proceedings over a banner displayed at their Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk (Gavin McCafferty/PA)

Celtic face disciplinary proceedings over an anti-monarchy banner displayed during a Champions League match on Wednesday night, but Rangers will not be punished for singing the national anthem before their game.

A banner in the Celtic section of the crowd at their game against Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw read ‘F*** the Crown’ while another said ‘Sorry for your loss Michael Fagan’, a reference to the intruder who broke into the Queen’s Buckingham Palace bedroom in 1982.

A UEFA statement read: “Please be informed that proceedings have been opened against Celtic FC regarding a banner displayed during their UEFA Champions League match against FC Shakhtar Donetsk played on September 14 in Warsaw.

Rangers fans pay tribute to the Queen before the match against Napoli at Ibrox
Rangers fans pay tribute to the Queen before the match against Napoli at Ibrox (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“The UEFA disciplinary bodies will decide on the matter in due course.”

Rangers though will face no disciplinary action over the singing of God Save The King before their match against Napoli on Wednesday evening.

European football’s governing body had issued instructions for the anthem not to be sung before matches in its competitions this week, following the death of the Queen seven days ago.

However, a passionate rendition of the anthem followed a minute’s silence at Ibrox that had been permitted by UEFA.

Despite the instructions not to sing the anthem, UEFA confirmed on Thursday afternoon that no action would be taken against the Glasgow club.

“This incident is not the subject of any UEFA disciplinary proceedings,” a spokesperson said.

Rangers v Napoli – UEFA Champions League – Group A – Ibrox Stadium
The players stood for a minute’s silence at Ibrox on Wednesday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A vast silhouette of the Queen amid the colours of the Union Jack could be seen behind one of the goals before the game kicked off.

Sports across the UK have paid tribute to the Queen since her death was announced last Thursday evening.

Matches being played in the Europa League and Europa Conference League that night went ahead with crowds already en route to the venues, but minute’s silences were held.

The England and Wales Cricket Board ruled that no competitive play would take place on Friday, but action did resume on Saturday with a minute’s silence
observed before the start of play between the England and South Africa men’s teams at the Oval, along with a rendition of God Save The King.

Ahead of the limited-overs matches in Pakistan, England skipper Jos Buttler said: “With Her Majesty the Queen passing, obviously we were deeply saddened by that. We’ve seen the reaction back home in England to her passing.

“I think cricket did a fantastic job at The Oval to honour her, the way that game was played. We hope to honour her in our own way as a T20 team and play in a fashion to do that.”

Football at all levels was postponed last weekend as a mark of respect but resumed from Monday. However, three Premier League matches scheduled for this weekend have also been postponed due to police resourcing issues linked to the Queen’s state funeral, which will take place next Monday.

The league confirmed minute’s silences will be observed and the national anthem will be played at the matches which are still going ahead, with players and other officials wearing black armbands.

Big screens and perimeter boards will display tribute images to the Queen and flags at grounds will fly at half-mast.

Fans will also be invited to join in a minute’s applause at the 70-minute mark, to honour the Queen’s 70-year reign.

Tottenham confirmed ahead of Saturday’s match with Leicester that Ledley King and Emile Heskey, ambassadors for the respective clubs, will lay a floral wreath before kick-off while fans are invited to join in the pre-match singing of God Save The King, led by local artist Lanya Matthews.

England boss Gareth Southgate did not hold a press conference on Thursday to name his squad for the Nations League qualifiers.

“We recognise the country is still in a period of mourning and my thoughts remain with the Royal Family,” he said.

Gareth Southgate file photo
Gareth Southgate did not hold a press conference on Thursday to name his squad for the Nations League qualifiers (Nick Potts/PA)

“While it is important to explain some of our decisions around selection, we didn’t feel it appropriate to hold a full press conference, when it might divert
attention from where people’s minds should be at this time.”

British Cycling has apologised for “strongly recommending” that people should not use their bikes during the Queen’s funeral.

The initial guidance was widely mocked and swiftly updated to recommend that “no formal domestic activities” should take place on Monday.

In a statement posted on social media on Thursday, the sport’s governing body wrote: “British Cycling sincerely apologises for the guidance issued on Tuesday afternoon relating to cycling during the State Funeral.

“We understand that the decision to cycle during that time is one for individuals and clubs to take for themselves, and we’re sorry that we got it wrong on this occasion.”