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Celtic admit that they are astonished to have been fined by UEFA over the El Hadji Diouf spitting incident during last week’s UEFA Cup tie against Liverpool.

Diouf was handed a two-match ban earlier this week after spitting at Celtic fans during last Thursday’s UEFA Cup quarter-final first leg.

But UEFA blamed Celtic’s supporters for provoking the 22-year-old Senegalese player and fined the Scottish club €3,400.

“I find it absolutely astonishing. I don’t thinkCeltic fans acted in a provocative way at all,” Celtic chief executive Ian McLeod told reporters on Wednesday.

“The reaction when Diouf ran into the crowd was in good humour and I don’t think the fine against Celtic was appropriate at all.

“Fines of 5,000 euros or less cannot be appealed so we are stuck with the decision unless we take it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and we won’t be doing that.

“We were astounded by this decision.

“There was a reaction certainly after their provocation from El Hadji Diouf which was quelled immediately by the steward in an appropriate manner.”

“We find it astonishing that UEFA should see it otherwise, particularly given that the player has apologised unreservedly for his actions and that Liverpool Football Club have also donated £30,000 to the Celtic charity fund as a welcome gesture of goodwill immediately following the incident,’ added McLeod.

“Celtic would be first to acknowledge that Liverpool has acted honourably following this regrettable incident and both clubs remain confident that the good relationship which has evolved between the clubs will remain.

“The fining of Celtic by UEFA, however, does yet again call into question the equity and fairness of theUEFA judicial process given that Celtic have no right of appeal.”

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