Celtic fans have tripled their initial target of raising £15,000 (€17,400) for Palestinian charities in a bid to match an impending UEFA fine for their club.
The European governing body last week launched disciplinary proceedings against Celtic after a number of fans displayed Palestinian flags during their 5-2 Champions League victory against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva in Glasgow.
The Green Brigade group of supporters subsequently launched an appeal on the gofundme website to match UEFA’s fine and they hit the £45,000 (€52,200) mark early on Monday evening, a day after the fund was set up.
The fans are raising money for Medical Aid Palestine, which delivers health and medical care to those “worst affected by conflict, occupation and displacement”, and the Lajee Centre, a cultural and sports project for children in Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem.
A statement explained that the money would help buy football kit and equipment to enable the refugee camp to have a team, which will be called Aida Celtic, in the Bethlehem youth league.
Celtic face their ninth UEFA punishment for supporter behaviour in five years when the case is heard on September 22, which include a fine of more than £15,000 (€17,400) two years ago after a Palestine flag was displayed at a Champions League qualifier against KR Reykjavik.
The UEFA rule in question forbids the use of “gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”.
Celtic are in Israel for the second leg of their qualifying play-off, which takes place on Tuesday night.