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6 Celtic fans in Dutch court on violence charges

November 8, 2013

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Six Celtic fans appeared in court in Amsterdam on Friday charged with public violence against police officers following clashes before the Scottish club’s Champions League match with Ajax.

Four of the six were released pending a court case on Nov. 21 and two more were ordered jailed until the case, prosecutors said in a statement after the behind-closed-doors hearing.

The Celtic fans are suspected of assaulting police or throwing beer cans and bottles at officers, said Amsterdam Public Attorney’s office spokesman Franklin Wattimena. The charge of public violence carries a maximum sentence of six years imprisonment, though Dutch courts rarely hand down such high sentences.

Another 12 Celtic fans were fined and released.

Police and hooligans clashed on Wednesday in downtown Amsterdam, well away from Ajax’s stadium. Ajax won the match 1-0. Police said eight officers were hurt in the fighting.

In a statement on the club website, Celtic coach Neil Lennon said he was “disappointed but not surprised” at the violence after Ajax fans had ripped up seats and thrown them at Celtic fans two weeks ago when the teams met in Glasgow.

“If there are Celtic fans who have been out of order and they are season ticket holders, then the club will take appropriate action, obviously,” Lennon said.

But he added that the Celtic fans may have fallen foul of a “culture” of provocation at Ajax.

“I’m not going to point the finger at them as don*t know what the facts are. But our fans are exemplary. I have been here 13 years and everywhere they go, they have been an absolute credit to the club,” he said. “Again, I don*t know the facts in front of me, but if there was a reaction, there was immense provocation in the first place.”

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