Gamba Osaka said Friday it will ban all flags and banners from home and away games following the appearance of a flag that resembles a Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) symbol at last Sunday's local derby against Cerezo Osaka.
Gamba officials met with members of the group that displayed the banner to hear their side, but has banned the group from the team's games.
Speaking at a press conference at Suita Stadium, team president Takashi Yamauchi said, "This created an uncomfortable environment for those who love soccer and I apologize deeply for this."
"They (the supporters group) said they did not intend to make a political statement but rather used that design to present a strong image."
In statement posted earlier on the J.League first-division club's website, Gamba said: "The club, as well as of course the J.League, will not under any circumstances allow flags and the like bearing political or religious slogans. It is deplorable."
"In order to make sure this kind of thing never happens again, the club and management are not going to take half measures."© KYODO